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920.7 

Kirkland 

Girls who "became leaders 



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KANSAS CITY, MO. PUBLIC LIBRARY 




GIRLS WHO 
BECAME LEADERS 

BY 

WINIFRED AND FRANCES 
KIRKLAND 




Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc. 

New York ------- 1933 



Copyright, 1932, by 
RAY LONG & RICHARD R. SMITH, INC. 

All rights reserved 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 
BY THE BRANWEIX PRESS, NEW YORK 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

I. CATHERINE BRESHKOVSKY, Babouska . . i 
II. AJLICE STONE BLACKWELL, Noted Daugh 

ter of Noted Parents ....... n 

III. MARY LYON, Who Founded a College . . 18 

IV. MARY WOOLLEY, Parson's Daughter and 

President ........... 26 

V. ELLA FLAGG YOUNG, Who Taught Herself 

to Teach ........... 33 

VI. FRANCES PERKINS, The Girl Who Never 

Forgot ............ 44 

VII. GRACE ABBOTT, Guardian of 43,000,000 

Children ..... " ...... 5 1 

VIII. MARY ANDERSON, The Woman's Bureau . 59 

IX. MABEL CRATTY, A Leader of Leaders . . 67 

X. CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT, Crusader ... 76 
XL ANNA GARLIN SPENCER, Faithful to the 

Finish ............ 88 

XII. MOTHER SETON, Pioneer ...... 94 

XIII. MARGARET BONDFIELD, "Our Maggie" . . 107 

XIV. CLARA BARTON, Organiser and Nurse . . 115 
XV. MARY PUTNAM JACOBI, Daughter and 

Doctor ............ 123 



GIRLS WHO 
BECAME LEADERS 



I 

CATHERINE BRESHKOVSKY 
Babouska 

GRANDMOTHER is one of the nicest words that 
ever was made. Everyone has a smile for it. 
Everyone has a mental picture of what it stands 
for. In Catherine Breshkovsky's case, as in 
many others, grandmother means white hair, 
kind twinkling eyes, an understanding smile, 
helpful hands. Yes, "Babouska," Russian for 
"dear little grandmother," means that and 
much more when applied to the patriot Cath 
erine Breshkovsky. She is, however, a grand 
mother not of one child or even of twenty, but 
of all the Russian people, young and old. She 
is called "The Grandmother of the Russian 
Revolution," and she has found it a very diffi 
cult child to love and tend. 

Long ago, away off in a charming Russian 
home in the district of Vitebsk in Little Russia, 
Catherine, or Katya, was not a grandmother at 
all. She was just a little girl in the late 1840*8, 



2 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

a child not beautiful, but her crooked neck did 
not trouble her for there was nothing crooked 
about her spirit; that was always beautiful and 
free. Little Katya was free and generous in 
the love she gave to her family, to her hand 
some father, Constantine Verigo, and to her 
polished and tender-hearted mother, to her sis 
ters and to her brothers. Catherine was free in 
her childhood to love her beautiful home with 
its surrounding fields and woods : but she could 
not enjoy her life as a rich Russian child be 
cause there was something that troubled her 
and there has always been the same troublesome 
thing in her life everyone is not free, every 
one has not a beautiful home, everyone does 
not have enough to eat 

Very early in life Katya came to know these 
distressing facts. Her father's beautiful house, 
his cattle, his fields, his woods were all cared 
for by serfs, or slaves. These poor people pos 
sessed no freedom. They lived in hovels and ate 
coarse food, and very little even of that On 
Sundays the little rich girl saw them dressed 
in sheepskins praying in the beautiful churches. 
On week days she often ran away to play with 
the little serf children. Sometimes she found 



BABOUSKA 3 

them eating the food that had been thrown out 
for the animals ; often she came upon them sick 
and dirty and unhappy. She tried to take them 
back with her to her beautiful home but no 
one seemed to want her to do that No sooner 
would little Catherine drag a poor neglected 
child into the beautiful house that was her 
father's, than someone would tell her to go out 
again. Because she could not bear to have 
so many nice things while the serf children had 
nothing, she gave them her toys and even her 
clothes, but the grown-ups never seemed to un 
derstand her generosity. They did not under 
stand why she preferred speaking Russian to 
speaking French. Now French was the 
language of fashion and society. The poor serf 
children could not speak it at all. Little Katya 
[iked the plain Russian words because they be 
longed to the soil and the serfs. 

When Catherine was still very young, her 
father became steward of an estate belonging 
to the Duchess Galitzin. He took his family 
with him and they found themselves in a very 
grand household indeed : but little Katya cared 
nothing for the grandeur. She liked, however, 
the wonderful books in the Duchess's library. 



4 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Already she knew much about the Bible, she 
now read books on many subjects: those on 
freedom interested her most 

In the year 1 86 1, when Catherine was seven 
teen years old, her friends the Russian serfs 
were freed, at least their masters did not own 
them any more, but instead of being better off, 
the peasants fared worse under the new condi 
tions. Previously they had been allowed a 
little land to raise food for themselves and their 
animals : now they had no land and no money. 
The landlords drove them from place to place. 
Catherine Breshkovsky and her young friends 
thought this very horrible, the suffering of the 
peasants gave them no time to think of their 
own happiness. To find help for these poor 
people Catherine went with her mother and 
sister to Petrograd. There she joined a group 
of distinguished people who were working for 
the betterment of the peasants. When her 
mother left the city, Catherine begged to be 
allowed to stay and study and earn her own liv 
ing. She and her friends could not bear to 
live easy lives while the poor peasants were 
distressed. Her mother consented to her be 
coming a governess. She taught successfully 



BABOUSKA 5 

for two and a half years in a nobleman's family. 
Her father then urged her come home. He 
helped her to start a boarding school for rich 
girls, and he also built her a schoolhouse where 
she taught poor children free. All that Cath 
erine earned above her simple expenses she 
gave to the poor. She was always an unselfish 
and successful teacher of the rich and of the 
poor. 

When Catherine Breshkovsky was twenty- 
five years old she married a young Russian 
nobleman who also loved the peasants. To 
gether they started a cooperative bank and an 
agricultural school. Even with all their ef 
forts Catherine felt they were not doing 
enough for the poor, so she went to Kiev in 
search of helpers. There she found students 
who were willing to go home with her and aid 
her in studying the laws of Russia in an effort 
to help the peasants by enforcing the existing 
code. Trouble soon came. The Russian gov 
ernment did not wish to help the poor. Sev 
eral of Catherine's friends were sent to icy 
Siberia. Catherine and her husband were 
watched and warned to leave the peasants 
alone. Catherine then made the great decision 



6 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

of her life. She saw that since no help could 
come from the old government, a new govern 
ment must come and she must work for it She 
asked her husband if he would join her in her 
dangerous task. He said he would not Cath 
erine then went alone to Kiev to become a real 
revolutionist working for a free Russia for free 
people. In doing this she gave up a com 
fortable home, her living, her husband; in a 
few months she even gave up the dear little son 
who came to her. For the freedom of Russia 
she gave up what she most loved. John Haynes 
Holmes, pastor of the Community Church in 
New York City, has called Catherine Bresh- 
kovsky one of the ten greatest living women 
and the "most heroic of all living martyrs for 
mankind." 

Hers was always an everyday heroism, the 
bravery of going hungry and cold for a good 
cause. Yes, even the bravery of going to prison. 
That came after Catherine had gone about the 
country in peasant dress doing a peasant's 
work and talking, talking, to the poor people 
about a better government and better times. 
The Russian government arrested her and sent 
her to Arctic Siberia where she stayed many 



BABOUSKA 7 

years. Her life in the prison villages was very 
difficult; however, she made friends with the 
other prisoners and she never forgot the great 
wish of her life the freedom of Russia. Be 
sides her fellow Russians, Catherine knew an 
American traveller in Siberia, George Ken- 
nan, who also longed for Russian liberty. Mr. 
Kennan has written of Babouska, "My stand 
ards of courage, of fortitude and of heroic self- 
sacrifice, have been raised for all time, and 
raised by the hand of a woman." 

Sometimes Catherine escaped from prison. 
Sometimes she was free for a time. Once dur 
ing such a season she came to America in 1904- 
05 and pleaded for help for the poor Russians. 
Many kind Americans came to her aid and she 
collected more than $10,000. A great meeting 
was held in historic Faneuil Hall, Boston. 
Addresses were given by Julia Ward Howe, 
Henry Blackwell, and many other friends of 
freedom. When Catherine Breshkovsky rose 
to speak, the audience also rose ; the applause 
was deafening. When at last she could be 
heard, Catherine said, "We are a long way 
from Russia, and it may seem strange to you 
to hear anyone speak with warmth of a country 



8 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

and of questions that are so far away, beyond 
the mountains and the sea. You who are sit 
ting quietly in a beautiful, well-lighted hall in 
Boston, what have you to do with the gloomy 
prisons in Russia? . . . Friends, all Russia is 
an immense prison to every Russian with pro 
gressive ideas. It is worth everything to the 
men and women who are working for freedom 
in Russia to know that free and civilized na 
tions sympathize with them and wish them 



success." 



When Babouska returned to Russia she was 
very soon imprisoned again this time for life ; 
but now she had her American friends to cheer 
her loneliness. They sent her clothing, books, 
letters, and money for her work. Sometimes 
these gifts were months in arriving, sometimes 
they did not come at all, but always Catherine 
had the pleasure of looking forward to them. 
Her letters of thanks are full of gratitude and 
affection. "It was a glorious apparition," she 
wrote on receiving a gift box. "The goods were 
so well packed that everything is as fresh as if 
just out of the shop. Even the paper and the 
cardboard are safe enough to be used by our 
bookbinders. Everyone touched the stuff, and 



BABOUSKA 9 

everyone was sincerely glad to know that 
grandmother will be clad as warmly as anyone 
could desire." 

At last there came to Babouska the great joy 
of seeing her dream come true. In 1917 Rus 
sia was free. Catherine Breshkovsky was told 
to come home, to come back to Petrograd. Her 
welcome is a bright spot in history. The long 
journey was made easy for her. She was given 
an official welcome. Many baskets of flowers 
were presented to "Our Dear Grandmother" 
"To Russia's Martyr Heroine." She was 
treated like an empress. On the arm of Keren- 
sky, Secretary of Justice, she stepped before 
the welcoming crowds while Kerensky said, 
"Comrades, the Grandmother of the Russian 
Revolution has returned at last to a free coun 
try. She has been in dungeons, in the penal 
settlements of the Lena, she has been tortured 
endlessly, yet here we have her with us brave 
and happy. Let us shout 'Hurrah' for our dear 
Grandmother!" 

But the dream was not to stay true. When 
the Bolsheviki came into power Catherine 
found that she was not in sympathy with them. 
Again she left Russia although she was very 



io GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

old and tired and often ill. She now lives in 
Czecho-Slovakia in the city of Prague, where 
she interests herself in founding boarding 
schools for the neglected children of Russian 
Carpathia, now a part of the Czecho-Slovak 
Republic. The children are eager to learn and 
through Babouska's American friend, Alice 
Stone Blackwell, money is still collected to 
help the young peasants. Catherine Breshkov- 
sky is still an interested grandmother although 
she is in the upper eighties of her age. She, 
who has been so many times a prisoner, is now 
free, but she will never cease to work for the 
freedom and the education of her unnumbered 
grandchildren, the poor people of Russia. 



II 

ALICE STONE BLACKWELL 
Noted Daughter of Noted Parents 

IN some families there is one gifted ooy or 
girl who forges ahead and wins fame. At times 
there are even two famous members of one 
household, but it is a rare happening when a 
whole family is noted. Alice Stone Blackwell 
is a successful writer and social worker. Her 
noted parents were Lucy Stone, the celebrated 
suffrage lecturer, and Henry Blackwell, a well- 
known public speaker and philanthropist 

It was a singularly appropriate home for a 
little girl baby to enter, that cottage in Orange, 
New Jersey, where on September 14, 1857, lit 
tle Alice was born. Her mother had devoted 
her whole life to the betterment of living con 
ditions for women and girls; and her father 
had since his marriage given all his strength to , 
the cause of woman's freedom. Whatever was 
best and sweetest in life for a girl to know, 

ii 



12 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

surely these kindly and gifted parents could 
and did teach her. Later in her life Alice came 
to see what precious gifts her fairy godmother 
had brought to her cradle, the very best of 
gifts, a good mother and a good father. Alice 
has written a whole book about her mother's 
beautiful life. The question naturally arose 
whether Lucy Stone would go on lecturing 
when she had a little girl of her very own to 
tend. Until Alice was several years old, her 
mother held to the decision she made when her 
baby was tiny. "I can be only a mother," she 
said, "no trivial thing, either." 

And so during the earliest years of her life 
little Alice had the uninterrupted care of her 
famous mother. She had her famous father's 
companionship, too, such a jolly, handsome 
father, full of fairy tales and fun. Evening af- " 
ter evening passed in story-telling. Usually 
the story was the same as to setting and char 
acters but the adventures were different, oh* 
very different indeed! But all the time he wa?j 
talking about .^Hchanted birds' eggs and hob 
goblins Alice" Knew her dear fun-loving fatheiP 
had his earnest workaday ideas, his lectures for 
the cause of woman's suffrage. She loved him 



DAUGHTER OF NOTED PARENTS 13 

more because he had this serious work in the 
world. 

"Brought up by such parents, I naturally 
came to share their views," Alice Blackwell 
writes. "In my childhood I heard so much 
about woman suffrage that I was bored by it 
and thought I hated it, until one day I came 
across a magazine article on the other side and 
found myself bristling up like a hen in defence 
of her chickens. This happened when I was 
about twelve years old. After that I never had 
any doubt as to whether I believed in it." 
Soon afterward Alice began to distribute 
ffrage circulars at the doors of public meet- 
T^ ings held by her parents. Even before she 
J7 stopped being a schoolgirl she was permitted 
to help select stories and poems for her 
mother's suffrage paper, the Woman's Journal. 
In 1882, when her parents were campaigning 
jxjn the West, Alice had sole charge of the peri- 
odical. The present Woman Citizen is the suc- 
cessor of the paper to which Lucy Stone gave 
fj much of her time and money, and Alice Stone 
Q\ Blackwell is still a contributing editor. Be 
sides helping edit a paper when she was a girl, 
Alice joined in the open forum arguments that 



i 4 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

followed suffrage meetings, and as she grew 
older she helped her parents more and more in 
print and on the platform, continuing this work 
while they lived and afterward until the suf 
frage cause was won. 

Pleased as Lucy Stone was to have her 
daughter's footsteps follow her own, she did 
not want them to be kept out of all other paths, 
so, unknown to Alice, she asked a prominent 
friend of hers, Mrs. Isabel Barrows, to show 
her daughter a little more of life than her 
single-track parents could present to her. Mrs. 
Barrows and her husband, the Reverend Sam 
uel Barrows, were at that time editing the 
Chistian Register. Mrs. Barrows was also 
secretary of the National Conference of Char 
ities and Correction. The Barrowses were 
travellers and had many friends. Their camp 
in Canada was a meeting place of thinkers 
from all parts of the world. Alice Stone 
Blackwell became a regular guest at the camp 
and a frequent caller at the offices of the 
Chrinian Register. In both places she found 
distinguished people who were working for 
worthy "Causes" as yet untouched by her busy 
and self-sacrificing parents. There was the 



DAUGHTER OF NOTED PARENTS 15 

Cause of the persecuted Armenians, later so 
much assisted by Alice herself. There was the 
Cause of the Russian peasants, downtrodden 
for centuries. 

Through Mrs. Barrows Alice Blackwell 
made many of the dearest friendships of her 
life. Chief of these stands her great devotion 
to Babouska, Catherine Breshkovsky, the 
great-hearted "little Grandmother of the Rus- 
sion Revolution." Through Babouska, Alice 
came to devote more of her time to the Rus 
sians, in whom she had long been interested. 
In the year 1904 Catherine Breshkovsky lec 
tured in Boston to enthusiastic audiences. Lucy 
Stone was dead, but Henry Blackwell and his 
famous daughter were prominently present 
Later, from her Siberian prison Catherine 
Breshkovsky wrote letters to Alice Stone 
Blackwell and also letters to other people 
mentioning her. In one of these she thus 
writes of her "whose friendship incompar 
able for its constancy and tenderness, has been 
a sweet sunbeam to me during the long days of 
an interminable exile"; and again, "I saw 
during my personal acquaintance with her that 
she was apt to embrace the whole world with 



1 6 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

her beautiful heart, her strong soul ; to press it 
to her bosom and never to be tired of working 
for it" 

One of the books Alice wanted to write was 
the story of Babouska's life. On May 3, 1915, 
Catherine Breshkovsky wrote Alice in answer 
to her request for biographical material, "To 
day I got the letter in which you speak of some 
day having the story of my life. Dear child, 
I tell you seriously that I do not know my own 
history. I have not felt it It was always my 
soul that was in action, and the direction taken 
by it from my childhood has never changed, so 
that its history would be monotonous. The de 
tails of my material life interested me so little 
thatl do not remember them clearly, and every 
time that it happens to me to read the memoirs 
of my old comrades, I am always surprised at 
what they say about me. It makes me smile. I 
have to make an effort of memory to recall the 
past, so far as it concerns myself. The only 
thing I can say with certainty about myself is 
that all my life I have wanted to be good and 
worthy, and that up to this moment I am cor 
recting my faults and imperfections." 

But in spite of difficulties Alice wrote Ba- 



DAUGHTER OF NOTED PARENTS 17 

bouska's life and published it in 1917, calling 
it, very aptly, The Little Grandmother of the 
Russian Revolution. It was this same little 
Grandmother who urged Alice to put into a 
book her memories of her own famous mother. 
This Alice Blackwell published more recently, 
in the autumn of 1930, naming the biography, 
Lucy Stone, Pioneer of Woman's Rights. Miss 
Blackwell has also written Armenian Poems, 
Songs of Russia, and Songs of Grief and Joy, 
the last translated from the Yiddish. 

What more Alice Blackwell may do the 
coming years only can tell, for her splendid 
energy for helping the under-dogs of the world 
is unabated. Her friendships grow deeper and 
broader; her active mind is ever making and 
executing plans for the betterment of mankind. 
She has written, "Of the many things that I 
owe to my father the one for which I am most 
grateful is the example of a great and beautiful 
life." Her mother also gave her a similar 
example, and now she herself is showing what 
a high-minded unselfish life can accomplish. 



Ill 

MARY LYON 
Who Founded a College 

No one can put Mary Lyon into a book and 
keep her there! She will come to life before 
one is aware and go flying down the page, her 
cap strings untied, her auburn curls dancing, 
her blue eyes dancing, too, so intent is she upon 
teaching some girl, or advising her, or kissing 
and comforting her if she is homesick and 
most of the girls who pioneered in the first 
years of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary 
were homesick. 

It is nearly a hundred years since November, 
1837, when Mary Lyon opened Mount Hol 
yoke. It is eighty-two years since she died ; and 
yet she lives not only in the college she founded, 
but in ever so many other places where her 
work is known. If she could be described in 
a sentence it might be made of four words, 
Mary Lyon Loved Girls. 

18 



FOUNDER OF A COLLEGE 19 

She loved children, too, and often had them 
about her. In fact when she was a college 
president she frequently found time to "bor 
row" a friend's baby boy "for his nap." The 
place where Mary Lyon was a baby herself is 
Buckland, Franklin County, Massachusetts. 
The name Buckland suggests open spaces ; the 
old New England township really began life 
as a deer park, and Mary Lyon began life as 
a farmer's daughter, enjoying the fields and 
brooks and the towering hills. One of these 
heights, Mount Holyoke, was closely con 
nected with her later life, giving its name to 
the college of her dreams. 

A happy, hardy little girl, Mary grew up the 
fifth of seven children, of whom only one was 
a boy. On the rocky little hill-farm there was 
a busy, thrifty life until the winter Mary was 
six, when her father died. The neighbors said, 
"We have lost a friend the peacemaker is 
gone." In the succeeding winters the pinch of 
poverty grew sharper in the Lyon home, but 
by working through the short summers plucky 
Mrs. Lyon managed to gather stores for cold 
weather and even to find time for a famous 
flower garden, in which a neighbor once 



20 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

begged a corner for a rare plant because he 
was sure it could not die under Mrs. Lyon's 
care* Her children throve as well as her flow 
ers. Much of Mary Lyon's common sense 
came from watching her mother, "Economy," 
President Lyon once said to her students, "is 
not always doing without things. It is mak 
ing them do the best they can." Mrs. Lyon 
once found small Mary examining the hour 
glass and on questioning her received the 
answer, "I am trying to make more time." 
Making more time, or rather making the best 
of what she had, marked Mary's early eager 
ness in study. First, like all children of her 
day, she studied the Bible, then she added other 
studies. The education of girls was not ad 
vanced in those days, but Mary made the most 
of her meagre chances. In 1810 her mother 
remarried and went to live in Ashefield, Mas 
sachusetts. Mary stayed with her brother on 
the old farm, and in 1814 she taught a little 
summer term school at Shelburne Falls, Later, 
in 1814, she had the good fortune to enter Ashe 
field Academy where she received excellent 
instruction, and where her active mind grew 
rapidly. 



FOUNDER OF A COLLEGE ai 

Mary came to the Academy in a blue home 
spun dress she had woven for herself. A draw 
string was at her throat, another at her waist 
Even in those days she looked like an old- 
fashioned girl, but she instantly became the 
close friend of Amanda White, the Squire's 
lovely daughter. It was well she did, for the 
little store of money she had earned from weav 
ing two coverlets was soon exhausted. Squire 
White, being on the school board, asked for 
free tuition for Mary, and at the same time 
Mrs. White joined him in another request. 
They asked Mary Lyon to make her home with 
them; so Mary came to live in a big white 
colonial house behind the tall elms of Ashe- 
field's main street. She shared an upper room 
with her beloved Amanda. 

The friendship with the Whites continued. 
When Mary and Amanda graduated from the 
Academy they wanted further education, and, 
being determined girls, they got it. One day 
in the autumn of 1821 Squire White harnessed 
his best horses to his best wagon and drove 
Amanda and Mary and their two little trunks 
to Byfield Seminary, where they received re 
markably good teaching from Joseph Emerson, 



22 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

a cousin of the famous Ralph Waldo Emer 
son. 

The succeeding years to the great date of 
Holyoke's founding in 1837 were occupied 
steadily and successfully in teaching and study 
ing. Vacations were few, but a notable one 
occurred in 1833, when Mary Lyon spent a 
merry summer travelling through the Middle 
Atlantic States and the West, seeing Indians 
and mountains and lakes. Through all the 
years when she was steadily gaining in ability 
and fame, one idea grew quietly in Mary's 
mind girls must have as good an education as 
boys. There must be a woman's college. 
"Mary will not give up," her mother said. 
"She just walks the floor and says over and over 
again when all is dark, * Commit thy way unto 
the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He will 
bring it to pass. Women must be educated 
they must be!'" 

Mary collected money for her dream. She 
talked about it constantly. The first thousand 
dollars marked great sacrifice, for it was 
wholly collected from women of meagre 
means. The infant enterprise gave the follow 
ing promise, "The charges to the pupils for 



FOUNDER OF A COLLEGE 23 

board and tuition will be placed at cost, with 
out rent for buildings or furniture." Miss 
Lyon once said, "When we decide that it is best 
to perform a certain duty we should expect 
success in it, if it is not utterly impossible." She 
must have repeated this often to herself in the 
years while she watched Mount Holyoke strug 
gle into being. 

At last the site was chosen, the first building 
was started; even then the walls collapsed un 
der the workmen's hands. Mary Lyon merely 
said she was glad no one had been hurt. The 
walls rose again, a roof topped them. An open 
ing date was set, November 8, 1837. But the 
building wasn't ready, oh no ! There wasn't 
enough furniture, there wasn't enough of any 
thing but courage. The carpets were not down, 
everything was in confusion. In the centre of 
the turmoil Mary Lyon was calm. Mount 
Holyoke opened on the date set; the people of 
South Hadley opened their homes to the 
students whose rooms were unfinished. Fathers 
combined and carried their daughters' trunks 
upstairs. Students soon finished their unpack 
ing and came downstairs to do their share of 
helping in this wonderful household created by 



24 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Miss Lyon.. Wives of trustees washed dishes 
there wasn't any time to be idle or homesick* 
At last at four o'clock a big bell rang and 
Mount Holyoke opened. Many people said it 
would close very soon. Mary Lyon appealed 
to her students. "I cannot succeed without 
your help," she said. "The life of the institu 
tion depends upon this first year." The students 
listened, and worked at household tasks to save 
the cost of servants. The experiment soon 
ceased to be an experiment. Through one trial 
after another the institution gained strength 
and friends. The doors of opportunity opened 
by President Lyon have never closed. Holyoke 
graduates have gone out to do their bit in all 
parts of the world and the world has been the 
better for their service, for the training they re 
ceived at Mount Holyoke. 

Mary Lyon did not put her precepts into a 
book, but a few of her sayings remain. "When 
you write a letter," she said, "write what stands 
out in bold relief let it be warm like the liv 
ing daughter." She had a special bit of advice 
for her pupils who were going to become teach 
ers. "You have not governed a child until you 
make the child smile under your government; 



FOUNDER OF A COLLEGE 25! 

your self-control is not perfect until you cease 
to be irritated by your own government." Her 
own mother's love of economy shows in the 
following. "Never put anything in the fire that 
a bird will open its bill to get." 

Under such a leader Mount Holyoke was 
born, and under her it grew for a dozen vig 
orous years, then the end came not to the 
work, but to the brave founder. There had 
been epidemics of erysipelas in other colleges. 
Mount Holyoke had remained immune until 
the early spring of 1 849. Then a senior became 
ill. A panic threatened. It was averted by the 
bravery of President Lyon. Any girl was at 
liberty to go home, she said, but work and the 
use of disinfectants would continue. 

The sick girl died with her father and Mary 
Lyon at her bedside. There was no other case 
of the dreaded disease, but that of the brave 
leader, who died on the fifth of March after a 
brief illness. In a conscious moment she was 
heard to say, "But God will take care of it," 
and Mount Holyoke has always justified its 
great founder's faith* 



IV 

MARY WOOLLEY 
Parson's Daughter and President 

IF you had a choice in selecting your father's 
profession, would you wish him to be a lawyer, 
a doctor, a teacher, or a minister? But girls 
seldom have a chance to decide this question 
because parental callings are chosen before 
daughters enter the world. Yet if Mary Wool- 
ley, competent president of Mount Holyoke 
college, had had a voice in selecting her father's 
life work, I am sure she would have wished 
him to be just what he was a busy, happy 
New England parson, and for herself she 
would have chosen to be a parson's daughter, 
not in the least minding the restrictions that are 
sometimes thought to surround the members 
of a minister's family. 

Mr. Woolley was an unusual minister. He 
;would have been unusual in any prof ession. In 
a recent article entitled, "What I Owe to My 

26 



PARSON'S DAUGHTER AND PRESIDENT 27 

Father," Mary Woolley has gathered vivid 
memories of her childhood, all centering about 
the father who made her early years lively and 
useful. "I remember," she writes, "as if It 
were yesterday the criticism of a parishioner 
who, when asked why she looked askance at the 
new minister, replied that she could not trust 
any minister who went upstairs three steps at 
a time." 

"Three steps at a time," that Is the way the 
Reverend Joseph J. Woolley took life in Merl- 
den, Connecticut. Though Mary was born In 
South Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1863, her first 
memories are of the little white parsonage in 
Meriden. There with her father as her com 
rade she also learned to look upon life as a 
stairway to be climbed three steps at a time. 
She has shared his enthusiasm for all effort. 

One of life's stairways that Mary's father 
had climbed, she knew only through his mem 
ories and stories. Mr. Woolley had been a 
chaplain during the Civil War and what he 
had seen In hospitals and on the battlefields had 
made him forever hate the evils of war. Today 
his daughter is an ardent pacifist. There was, 
however, not the slightest touch of fear in Mr. 



28 CJRJLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 



reactions to war; an anecdote told 
his daughter by a veteran makes this point 
clear. "A soldier had come with a message to 
my father's tent/ 1 she writes, "and when the 
shells begaa to fall alarmingly near, mounted 
tiis horse for a hasty retreat My father's only 
comment was, 'Let 'em shoot I'm going to 
finish my breakfast!' " 

Finishing things was one of Mr. Woolley'g 
life steps that his daughter has always fol 
lowed. That saying of her father's, "Never 
give up a plan because of bad weather," has 
kept her straight to her course in moments of 
difficulty. And the course she has mapped out 
for herself has led to much work, much study. 
Trust a ministerial household to have books 
and a respect for learning, classical learning 
preferred! Mary read and studied as a girl 
and went away to school where languages and 
history held her fascinated. At twenty-one she 
graduated from Wheaton Seminary; in 1886 
she went there as a teacher. Five years of teach 
ing, all at Wheaton, followed. One trip to 
Europe broke the quiet industry of those years, 
a trip that brought her to Oxford, And in Ox 
ford came the dream of real university study 



PARSON'S DAUGHTER AND PRESIDENT 29 

for women. To study there would be great 
happiness, Mary thought 

When she came home the dream still clung 
to her. She confided in her father and he in 
turn spoke to the President of Brown Univer 
sity, Dr. Andrews. Through this conversation 
college doors were opened to Mary and to other 
girls, opened but not very wide at first The 
Oxford dream has not been realized, but Mary 
was to be allowed to attend a few classes at 
Brown merely as a guest She did. Then the 
trustees voted to allow women to take the 
entrance examinations. Seven girls were to be 
privileged to take the college course. Would 
Mary join them? She would. She did. The 
doors opened wider; in 1894 she received her 
A.B., in 1895 her M.A., from Brown Univer 
sity. 

Another five-year period of teaching fol 
lowed, this time at Wellesley, In 1900 Mary 
Woolley was invited to be president of Mount 
Holyoke, then a small college numbering only 
four hundred and fifty. Now the student body 
is limited to one thousand. In 1 900 the faculty 
and staff numbered eighty-six. Now the count 
is two hundred and twelve. Fifteen buildings 



3 o GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

have been added since President Woolley took 
charge of Mount Holyoke. 

Three steps at a time, yes, the life energy 
of her father has been Mary Woolley's through 
the more than thirty years of her college lead 
ership. She has had the will to climb the stair 
ways of life, and she has known what she 
wanted on the upper floors of effort, known 
which doors to open to her Mount Holyoke 
girls. One of these doors is named Fresh Air. 
At Mount Holyoke physical activities are car 
ried on as far as possible in the open. Miss 
Woolley herself Hikes a country walk, the whip 
of the wind, the tang of out-of-doors. 

Another door of higher opportunity at 
Mount Holyoke is called Service. If educa 
tion cannot help other people through you 
well, it hasn't helped you very much. That is 
the President's opinion; and following her 
counsel the Holyoke students go out to useful 
work of many sorts. 

Besides being helpful a girl should be cour 
teous, Miss Woolley thinks. "I don't like to 
see a college girl brusque or careless," she says. 
"Surely education should be stamped upon her 
speech, upon her manners. I don't like the 



PARSON'S DAUGHTER AND PRESIDENT 31 

swagger, either, that some young college girls 
affect To my mind the finest manner is the 
simplest, without either affectation or pre 
tence." And a beautiful sincere manner should 
come straight from a beautiful character, that, 
too, is Miss Woolley's belief ; and in forming 
character, religion can never be left out Mary 
Woolley had a wonderful religious training in. 
being her parson father's daughter. She says ? 
"A generation once removed from the religious 
discipline of our fathers may get along and 
preserve its integrity but the generation twice 
removed will find its inherited religion pretty 
diluted stuff." So Miss Woolley has striven 
to make the religion of her father a living thing 
in the lives of the girls who come under her 
care. There is no cant, no camouflage, merely 
a great faith and a great sincerity at Mount 
Holyoke. 

Great-hearted President Woolley cannot re 
strict her helpfulness to just one college, how 
ever prominent ; she finds time to speak at other 
colleges. Her sympathetic voice and keen logic 
win her a wide hearing. And she does not even 
limit her life work to colleges and education, 
although she has written a noteworthy book on 



32 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

the subject of teaching. She Is interested in the 
whole world, especially the peace of the world 
and the ending of all war. She believes edu 
cation will abolish the evils of warfare she 
believes but it is hard to state all that a won 
derful woman believes, such a woman as Mary 
lWoolley f her mind is so full of beautiful, use 
ful thoughts that none can foretell her future 
achievements. She takes the future as she takes 
the present! three steps at a time. 



V 

ELLA FLAGG YOUNG 
Who Taught Herself to Teach 

THE public schools of Chicago are the luckiest 
in all the U. S. A. because of the woman who 
put fifty years of herself into them. The period 
of her life from 1845 to 19 19 was a period when 
startling things were happening to education, 
to women, to the country at large. In all these 
happenings, Mrs. Ella Flagg Young had a 
leading part As one studies her successive 
photographs from seventeen to seventy, one 
sees always the same unchanging face, a fine, 
still face with hair drawn straight back from 
the parting, such a face as one meets in old 
daguerreotypes. A daguerreotype is an old- 
fashioned thing, but there was never anything 
old-fashioned about Mrs. Young. A tiny, 
frail-built, valiant woman, she marched always 
ahead of her times, leading with her the school 
children of Chicago. Keeping steadily ahead 
of them and of their teachers, year by year for 

33 



34 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

half a century, she taught herself how to be 
come always a better teacher. 

Although she was to contribute so much to 
the schoolrooms of the future, Ella Flagg her 
self as a child had almost no schoolroom train 
ing. Possibly she had an even better prepara 
tion for her life-work in her happy companion 
ship with her parents, something not very 
common in the forties and fifties of the last 
century. Perhaps this great educator learned 
how to understand children because she herself 
as a little girl had been so completely under 
stood by both father and mother. Ella Flagg 
was born into a self-respecting workaday home 
in Buffalo, New York, on the fifteenth day of 
January, 1845. Both parents were proud of 
their sturdy Scotch ancestry. The father was 
an expert mechanic and an amateur mathema 
tician. He was a most upright man, and a keen 
thinker, who taught his little girl to think. The 
reason there was so little schooling was that the 
child was so delicate that her mother wisely 
decided to make her body strong and let her 
mind take care of Itself. The result was that 
little Ella, at nine, taught herself to read, and 
almost in a day, because she wanted to finish for 



TAUGHT HERSELF TO TEACH 33 

herself a newspaper article that had been read 
to her. Writing she did not attempt for an 
other year or two. 

The mother seems to have been a cheery, 
capable woman, so efficient in household man 
agement that her little daughter early learned 
how to be practical in all she did. In later life, 
while she developed her excellent theories of 
education, Ella Flagg Young always knew 
every detail of school direction, from a substi 
tute's salary to the best methods of ventilation. 
One of the mother's devices for help was a little 
garden in which the child was set to work. But 
she was never so enthusiastic about her garden 
ing as she was about reading aloud to her 
brother while he did the hoeing. She learned 
a good deal about all teaching from answering 
this brother's keen questions. Her interest in 
manual training was acquired early, and from 
her father, who let the little girl watch him at 
his forge. He patiently explained to her all 
the mathematics of his measurements, and he 
let her assist him whenever possible. This 
father, though forced to stop school at ten, had 
become a wide reader : from him even before 
she had reached her teens, his daughter had 



36 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

learned how to educate herself by devouring 
serious books. 

Her stimulating companionship with her 
parents had so developed her active mind that 
Ella when at last she did go to school, found 
both the methods and her little schoolmates 
extremely boring. The little girl was just 
thirteen when the family moved to Chicago. 
After a year or two of ennui at listening to 
classroom teaching which repeated what she 
knew already, she at last took the teachers' ex 
amination. She passed it, but fifteen was too 
young for a teacher's certificate, so Ella en 
tered the Normal School as a means of filling 
In the time until her birthdays caught up with 
her mental development. 

Strange to say, a normal school in those days 
offered its pupils no opportunity to observe 
trained teachers actually teaching. Ella 
Flagg, always enterprising, decided to remedy 
this deficiency for herself, but could find no 
fellow-student sufficiently interested to accom 
pany her to the nearest primary school. She 
herself had been stung to this resolution by her 
mother's comment on her decision to become a 
teacher. The sixteen-year-old girl would 



TAUGHT HERSELF TO TEACH 37 

never, so her mother maintained, make a good 
teacher because, brought up at home without 
contact with little children, she would not be 
patient with them, would not realize their dif 
ficulties. These remarks sent Ella flying to the 
schoolroom of an accomplished teacher, Miss 
Rounds, with the breathless explanation that 
she knew nothing of children but wanted to 
learn. Both Miss Rounds and the youngsters 
accepted the situation merrily, with the result 
that within three weeks the principal offered 
the volunteer teacher her first class. Just two 
weeks later Mrs. Flagg died, but not until she 
had withdrawn all her earlier objections be 
cause within that fortnight she had recognized 
her daughter's supreme talent through its 
happy effect upon the girl herself. 

In 1862, at seventeen, Ella Flagg became a 
grade teacher in the Foster School, thus begin 
ning that half-century of service, which was to 
lead from school to school, from being teacher 
to being principal, from being principal to 
being superintendent, including, along the 
way, a university professorship and the presi 
dency of the National Educational Association. 
Ella Flagg was brought up in a peculiarly 



3 8 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

sheltered and considerate family life, only in 
her very first youth, to have every prop of fam 
ily relationships, one by one, swept from her. 
It was almost as if she were being deprived of 
every other interest in order that she might de 
vote every energy of her life to the school chil 
dren of Chicago. Soon after her mother's 
death, her father, too, went from her. In 1868 
her only brother was killed in a railroad acci 
dent In that same year, without giving up her 
teaching, she married William Young, a long 
time friend of the family, but a man, even at 
their marriage, so frail in health, that his early 
death was an inevitable additional sorrow. But 
there was something in Mrs. Young's spirit that 
always burned high and steadfast above all 
personal grief. Always she was a woman as 
reserved about her personal affairs as she was 
open and unflinching and bold in her public 
acts. 

The fifty years of an educational leadership 
which from humble beginnings became stead 
ily year by year more noteworthy, had both 
heavy difficulties and high rewards, both the 
rewards and the difficulties being revealed by 
three outstanding events. 



TAUGHT HERSELF TO TEACH 39 

By 1909 when the first of these events took 
place, Mrs. Ella Flagg Young had become 
well known to educational circles within her 
city and all over her country, but in this year 
she was to become known to all the public. She 
had gone steadily on from her grade teaching 
at seventeen to higher and higher responsibili 
ties. She had been principal of one school after 
another. She had been district superintendent, 
she had spent a year studying the schools of 
Europe, she had been appointed by one gov 
ernor after another as member of the State 
Board of Education, she had been four years a 
professor in Chicago University, another four 
years principal of the Normal School, within 
that time making it over from an unimportant 
Institution to the illustrious Teachers' College 
of today. It was while she was in this position 
that her difficult honors of 1909 came to her, 
and partly to the surprise of the very people 
who gave them to her. The Board of Educa 
tion of Chicago was certainly not expecting to 
elect a woman, for the first time in history, to 
the superintendency of a whole city's schools. 
But the politicians of the Board had quarrelled 
over this election until public opinion would 



40 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

stand it no longer and demanded a superintend 
ent and at once. The Board therefore sum 
moned before it the six candidates, one of them 
a woman, whose name, as it happened, stood at 
the end of the alphabetical list To this Board 
of weary gentlemen, exhausted by listening to 
five successive speakers, she talked for two 
hours. The Board listened, the Board liked 
her, the Board chose her, the first woman to be 
school superintendent of a great metropolis. 
But the action was not quite sincere. There 
were those who voted for Mrs. Young who 
thought she would never succeed, that after a 
year it would be an easy thing to oust her. 
Only, as it turned out, it wasn't. 

When Mrs. Young took hold of her new 
position she found a School Board at odds with 
each other, at odds with the previous superin 
tendent. She found 6000 teachers at odds with 
this superintendent who had been over their 
heads, and also with the Municipal Board of 
Education over his head. Under these unhappy 
circumstances the annual expenditure of twelve 
million dollars and the daily instruction of 
290,000 children suffered. What Mrs. Young 
accomplished within a year is best told by the 



TAUGHT HERSELF TO TEACH 41 

event of June, 1910. This Is what happened* 
Six thousand teachers, whose utter devotion 
she had won, prepared a great ovation in the 
Auditorium Theatre, which on that night was 
so crowded that hundreds were turned away. 
Amid brilliant lights, to the blare of a great 
orchestra, 250 teachers from all over the city 
marched to the central dais, unwinding long 
bands of ribbon to prevent the spectators 
swarming upon the person who was to come. 
Following the teachers appeared 200 school 
girls, holding long-stemmed American Beauty 
roses, which, stopping at a signal, they held 
arched over the aisle, down which stepped a 
tiny, quick-moving, gray-haired lady. At sight 
of her at first utter silence, then a burst from 
orchestra and audience, thousands of voices 
singing as one : 

"When you heard our city calling, 

Mrs. Young, Mrs. Young! 
When our hope was slowly falling, 

Mrs. Young, Mrs. Young! 
When our fate was poised anew, 
When for justice we would sue, 
Then our eyes were turned to you, 

Mrs. Young, Mrs. Young!" 



42 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

In that same June, 1910, Mrs. Young re 
ceived the highest honor the educators of ail 
the country could give her. The National 
Education Association, the famous N. E. A., 
made her by a vote of two to one its first (but 
not its last) woman president. But still the 
troubles attending her high honors were to 
follow her down in the happenings of 1913. 
In spite of her great and continued success or 
more probably because of It in administering 
the public schools, her old enemies in the 
Board of Education, who had from the first 
hoped some day to oust her, began to hamper 
her work. They attempted to dictate the 
school-books to be used. Always as Independ 
ent as she was quiet In her methods, Mrs. 
Young promptly resigned. Afraid of what a 
city that idolised her might think of them, the 
Board refused to accept the resignation offered 
in June. Objections, however, broke out anew 
in December, the date of re-election. While 
enough votes were mustered to re-establish her, 
the city superintendent was not sufficiently 
reassured. Again she resigned. At this junc 
ture every woman in Chicago rose and rallied 
to her cause, teachers, mothers, club women, 



TAUGHT HERSELF TO TEACH 43 

social workers. A committee of women went 
to the mayor, other committees organised meet 
ings. The newspapers helped with their cham 
pionship of Mrs. Young's supporters who de 
clared loudly and publicly that "a great wrong 
had been committed against the children, par 
ents, teachers of Chicago; against the whole 
educational system of America ; against a great 
woman." There could have been only one 
result. The resignation was not accepted. The 
great woman was re-established in her high 
position, more securely than ever. But though 
she had fought successfully the politicians of 
Chicago, she could not long continue to fight 
her own old age. The resignation that oc 
curred in 1915 had perforce to be accepted 
both by the Board of Education and by the pub 
lic. But her interest, her enthusiasm, her wide 
friendships did not cease with Mrs. Young's 
withdrawal, but lasted to her death in 1919, 
and even today continue to be part of the heri 
tage she left, that half century of herself given 
to her city. 



VI 

FRANCES PERKINS 
The Girl Who Never Forgot 

EIGHT, nine, ten stories above the New York 
pavement girl workers filled the windows of a 
shirtwaist factory. In the Square below 
crowds surged but the girls were not looking 
at the crowds, they were looking up their 
hands raised in prayer. Of the girls in those 
flaming factory rooms 146 perished on that 
afternoon in Washington Place nearly two 
decades ago, perished because the city fire 
apparatus was powerless above the seventh 
story, because an exit door was locked, because 
fire escapes led to a walled-in court, because 
Iron shutters falling blocked the fire escapes. 
In short, the young working women were the 
victims of avoidable fire hazards. 

Across the old Square on that faraway after 
noon a young woman stood at the window of 
her friend's luxurious apartment Her tea cup 

44 



THE GIRL WHO NEVER FORGOT 43 

was still in her hand as she gazed at those flame- 
locked girls. The party given in her honor 
had not yet broken up. Frances Perkins, the 
scholarly girl sociologist, was looking with 
horror- widened eyes at a tragedy that might 
have been prevented that might recur. 

What did she do? She never forgot The 
memory of that holocaust was forever burnt 
into her heart, into her sleep, and into her work. 

Born in Boston, April 10, 1882, Frances had 
studied at Mount Holyoke, at the University of 
Pennsylvania, at Columbia. She was an active 
and educated idealist in sociology. At the time 
of the shirtwaist-factory fire she had been tell 
ing her friends of her work in forwarding a 
bill for reducing the hours of the working 
woman's week, a project of the Consumers' 
League. Frances Perkins had always been 
eager to make working conditions more endur 
able for the workers ; she now sought to make 
the laborer's environment safe as well as sane. 

What sort of a girl was this Frances Perkins 
who never forgot the martyred working girls 
of the factory fire? She was neat in appear 
ance. She had a sense of fitness in dress. Her 
skirts were never quite so long nor so short, nor 



46 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

so tight as the fashion of the day required. She 
usually wore a becoming tricorn hat under 
which her sympathetic eyes twinkled as she 
made a quick decision. A practical girl not 
afraid of work, that was the Frances Perkins 
who saw the factory fire. She was also experi 
enced, having taught in Chicago, where she 
had come under the spell of Hull House and its 
inspired founder, Jane Addams. 

Frances did not rush into the relief of exist 
ing conditions in industry with a sentimental 
reliance on the power of the muck rake. Al 
though she was eager to grapple with actual 
industrial problems she spent three years 
studying economics before she attempted to 
make her world better. At the time of the 
shirtwaist factory fire she was already equipped 
to be a leader. As a result of the catastrophe 
the New York Committee on Public Safety 
was formed, and through this Committee a bill 
passed the New York legislature forming the 
Factory Investigating Commission. During 
all the necessary political preparations Frances 
Perkins was gathering all her forces for her 
work as a member of that factory reform move 
ment. That work was to convince the rich pro- 



THE GIRL WHO NEVER FORGOT 47 

ducer that the workers and especially the work 
ing women and girls were worth protecting. 
To the hurried march of money-makers Fran 
ces Perkins and her workers cried, "Halt!" 
Then she asked, "Why do you not take as good 
care of your employees as you do of your prod 
uct?" The girl sociologist became an expert 
witness for the Factory Investigating Commis 
sion, as well as a competent organizer of its 
work. She found herself facing clever lawyers 
who were protecting large real estate interests. 
Their clients did not wish to have new build 
ings condemned on account of fire hazards. 

One of the opposing lawyers on seeing Fran 
ces Perkins exclaimed with a ring of scorn in 
his voice, "That little girl an expert!" Later 
when he faced her in a hearing In the City Hall 
of New York he found he had a formidable 
foe in the quiet, shrewd, well-informed New 
England girl. She soon made it plain to her 
hearers that the building containing the burnt 
factory had really been rather better protected 
from fire than many of the other buildings 
housing New York industries. 

Frances had climbed fire escapes herself in 
her investigations. Few buildings in the great 



48 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

city had escaped the keen eyes and the remem 
bering mind of the .girl expert. She called the 
engineers in to testify. "And the wonderful 
thing about engineers," Frances says, "is that 
they don't know how to lie!" 

Instead of delays and evasions the truth was 
told quickly and in great detail. The truth 
stirred the state to the making of fire preven 
tion laws. 

The methods of that first Factory Investigat 
ing Commission excite admiration and also 
bring a chuckle and a twinkle. Previously the 
leisurely factory inspector had travelled by 
local trains, also leisurely, and allowing plenty 
of time for news of his visitation to arrive be 
fore him. The new, unsalaried Commission 
travelled usually by automobile in order to 
surprise the industrial plants into allowing the 
investigators a sight of everyday working con 
ditions. Take the matter of unprotected stair 
ways, of locked exits and out-dated fire-fighting 
apparatus nothing of this sort escaped the 
searching eyes of the brisk girl in the becom 
ing tricorn. 

In her travels through the Empire State 
Frances Perkins saw other industrial evils be- 



THE GIRL WHO NEVER FORGOT 49 

sides mere fire risks. She saw little children 
employed in the canning factories. She never 
forgot the sight of worn women leaving a fac 
tory at dawn to do a day's work feeding a fam 
ily after a night spent in feeding a noisy 
machine. 

Due to the girl commissioner's interest and 
industry more laws were made protecting in 
dustrial workers. Then came the period when 
enforcement seemed more important than laws. 
To help the workers to help themselves, Fran* 
ces Perkins joined the Labor Department of 
New York State. This position gave her a 
permanent voice in all the industrial problems 
of the great Empire State. Not only fire risks 
interested her, but dangers from machinery, 
from poisonous fumes, and from rock dust. 

In 1929 Frances was appointed Labor Com 
missioner of New York State. A luncheon at 
which there were a thousand guests was given 
in New York to celebrate this election. After 
the feast the new commissioner made a speech 
in which she discussed her "job." At the open 
ing of the talk she gave praise to the friends 
who had aided her in her investigations. 
Among these friends was Florence Kelly. Mrs. 



So GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Kelly's ' c Frances, you Ve got to do it P had made 
things happen. 

On that same evening Frances Perkins also 
gave warm appreciation to her husband, Paul 
Wilson, who had helped her in solving hard 
problems. Although Frances prefers to use 
her own girlhood name, she has a daughter of 
her very own who "has helped me by growing 
to girlhood without being a troublesome 
child." 

Entering on her enlarged public duties, the 
new Commissioner asked, "And now what can 
I promise? 

"I promise to use the brains I have to meet 
problems with intelligence and courage. 

"I promise I will be candid about what I 
know of the Labor Department or of the state 
of industry in this state and country. 

"I promise to all of you who have a right to 
know, the whole truth and nothing but the 
truth so far as I can speak it" 

And the people of the great Empire State 
know that the girl who never forgot the mar 
tyred factory girls will not fail to keep her 
pledge. 



VII 

GRACE ABBOTT 
Guardian of 43,000,000 Children 

EVERYONE has at some time had the care of 
little children. A day, an hour, even a few 
minutes, with small sisters and brothers or with 
the little ones of a neighbor is quite enough to 
convince the caretaker that child welfare 
workers are busy people. If one has to be con 
stantly alert in dealing with children's needs 
even for a short time, what must it be to have 
constant charge of them? A few children take 
a great deal of energy; what must the task of 
caring for 43 ,000,000 of them be ? This is what 
Miss Grace Abbott of the Children's Bureau 
in Washington does. She gives all her time to 
providing for the needs of all the children in 
the United States. She does not see personally 
all these youngsters, of course, but she has them 
all in her mind, the little Indians on the 
windy Western reservations, the laughing 

51 



52 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Southern pickaninnies, the rosy little farm 
youngsters and the pale city children. All of 
them need the Children's Bureau in Washing 
ton to watch over them, and the Children's Bu 
reau needs Grace Abbott 

The Bureau is one of the divisions of the De 
partment of Labor. It has a house to itself; 
not a fine large structure, but a crowded 
wooden building. The first house Miss Ab 
bott used for her work burned down and with 
it went many valuable records. From the 
present home of her work Grace Abbott sends 
letters and bulletins all over the United States. 
In one month 50,000 copies of one of her bul 
letins were mailed to people who had requested 
to know what the Bureau had to tell about 
"Infant Care." There are files all about Miss 
Abbott's study; in the files are statistics and 
facts about children all over the world. The 
head of the Children's Bureau is always gath 
ering information about children and using it 
to help other children. She sits at a big desk, 
a tall woman with dark hair brushed back 
from a keen face, and dark eyes that look 
straight into the tangles of laws and politics. 
Dealing with statistics and bulletins, however, 



GUARDIAN OF 43,000,000 CHILDREN S3 

does not make Grace Abbott forget that she 
was once a child herself, a little girl whose 
parents were brave enough to travel to Grand 
Island, Nebraska, when summer grasshoppers 
and winter blizzards seemed to be about all 
that most people had known there. Grace 
learned to know much more about this land of 
sky and wind. On horseback she raced over 
the prairies and felt the whip of the tireless 
wind, raced until she felt that only the horizon 
itself could bring her to a stop. She made 
friends with the wind because in Grand Island 
the wind doesn't stop when a blizzard is over; 
it blows all the time, summer and winter; it 
blows all the foolishness out of life and leaves 
only elemental facts such as women like Grace 
Abbott must cope with. 

Grace Abbott's father arrived in Grand 
Island in 1867. He was not in the least afraid 
of drought and sandy soil and grasshoppers 
and he won in his fight with them. When 
Grace, his third child, was ready for college, 
the little hamlet of covered wagon days had 
grown to a bustling city with a college of its 
own where she graduated. Special study in 
political science at the University of Nebraska 



54 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

followed, and then a master's degree was taken 
at the University of Chicago, still In the same 
favorite subject 

In 1909 Hull House opened Its doors to the 
young student of political life. Her life there 
gave Grace Abbott first-hand experience with 
the workings of politics and of settlement 
houses. She was secretary of the Immigrants' 
Protective League. She lived with Jane Ad- 
dams. Now no one has ever lived in Hull 
House without becoming bigger and better In 
every way. Hull House sets Its seal upon souls 
and the soul of Grace Abbott responded to the 
needs of the little children she met In her work 
for newly arrived foreigners. The little 
strangers were very different from the sturdy, 
self-helpful Nebraska children Grace had 
known. The little Poles and Italians and Hun 
garians were frightened and unhappy in big, 
noisy Chicago. They did not know English ; 
sometimes it almost seemed as If they did not 
know anything. Grace Abbott and others of 
the Immigrants' Protective League tried to 
make them and their mothers feel more at 
home in the new land. 

After her busy life at Hull House had given 



GUARDIAN OF 43,000,000 CHILDREN 55 

her the needed experience, Miss Abbott had 
the care of Illinois immigrants and later she 
cared for Massachusetts foreigners. In 1917 
she began working for the Children's Bureau. 
Her first tasks were performed under the direc 
tion of other people. She is now herself the 
director and head of the Bureau, a position she 
fills most ably. She has been thought of for a 
still higher position, that of Secretary of Labor 
in the President's Cabinet, but most people 
really think that being a guardian of children 
is really the highest task any woman or girl can 
have. 

In a recent article the New York Times 
Magazine says : "When the Children's Bureau 
began its work the 'best seller' among govern 
ment pamphlets was the 'Care of the Horse.' 
Since then its three popular guide books, 'Pre 
natal Care,' 'Infant Care' and 'Child Care' 
have passed the 10,000,000 circulation mark. 
The ranks of gray pamphlets hundreds of 
them progress from such fundamentals as 
these to complex studies that concern mothers, 
teachers, doctors, managers of institutions, 
courts and lawyers, and city fathers." 

Just now in the autumn of 1931 Uncle Sam's 



56 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

children need Grace Abbott more than they 
have ever needed her. America has been suf 
fering from a prolonged attack of business 
blues. Many people have had less and less 
money to spend until finally they have had to 
part with their homes and scatter their chil 
dren until the coming of better times. Grace 
Abbott is trying to preserve these homes for the 
sake of the children in them. Long ago she 
saw that instead of taking poor children away 
from home and gathering them in public insti 
tutions, it is better to pension the mothers and 
let them care for their little ones in their own 
homes. Miss Abbott saw this truth long before 
the law-makers saw it. She says, "The only 
permanent and final way to elevate the condi 
tion of the child is to elevate the family. What 
ever the family has, is passed on to the child. 
People love their children ; whatever they have 
to give, they give to their children; and if we 
want the children to have more, we need only 
see that the parents have more. We can de 
pend on them to distribute it." 

The trouble is that nowadays so many par 
ents have nothing, but Miss Abbott is not dis 
couraged in her great work for the children of 



GUARDIAN OF 43,000,000 CHILDREN 57 

America. She goes on making plans for better 
distribution of work for parents, so that there 
may be better homes for their children. She 
plans for better schools, better health, better 
everything; and knowing how many of Grace 
Abbott's plans have already come true, we 
know that those she is making now will some 
day be realized. Through her the 43,000,000 
children of the United States will have what 
every one wants, a chance, or in true American 
wording fair play. 

But life isn't all work for Grace Abbott; she 
has her pleasures. She enjoys her long walks, 
she delights in her charming apartment fur 
nished in shining old mahogany. She likes to 
read. She is, in fact, just as vividly alive now 
as she was when she raced and rode over the 
Nebraska plains. She looks like her pioneer 
father; she has his courage and his idealism. 
She does not have to drive a covered wagon 
into a new country, but she is moving ahead 
into the new land of social justice for children 
and for those who have the care of them. She 
will work quietly and she will encounter diffi 
culties more serious than blizzards and 
droughts and grasshoppers. She will go on 



58 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

year after year. And some day she will win, 
and all the children of our great country will 
be better for having had Grace Abbott for their 
friend. 



VIII 

MARY ANDERSON 
The Woman's Bureau 

MANY girls know how to make their own 
clothes ; very few know how to make their own 
shoes; fewer still can make shoes for other 
people. Mary Anderson, head of the 
Woman's Bureau in Washington, did just that, 
for eighteen long years she worked in a shoe 
factory. Previously she had helped to make 
men's clothing, and before that she had worked 
in a cheerless kitchen. Hers was a very busy 
girlhood, a workaday, poverty-pressed exist 
ence, piled right on top of a delightfully pic 
turesque childhood. 

Mary's little girlhood began near the tiny 
city of Lidkoping in Sweden in the year 1872, 
and it began on a farm. A jolly old farmhouse 
was Mary's first home, a house with six broth 
ers and sisters in it and plenty of gay neighbors 
hurrying in and out. Mary was the youngest 

59 



60 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

of the family and consequently her tasks were 
not heavy though she was always ready to lend 
a hand with the churning or wood-carrying or 
whatever needed to be done. Still there was 
plenty of time for skating and for toboggan 
parties in winter, and in summer our American 
custom was reversed and school began. Mary 
Anderson delighted In her books and loved her 
teachers. She also enjoyed the summer trips to 
market with her father, trips which started In 
the gray dewy dawn In the bumpy old market 
cart all piled with clean, bright-colored vege 
tables. 

Then there was the spinning wheel. Its 
humming filled a large part of the farmhouse 
life. Soon Mary learned to spin and weave 
wool for her own dresses. But the girl who 
later made shoes for other people did not learn 
to make her own clothes, because the custom of 
her native country was that the dressmaker, the 
tailor and the shoemaker should pay annual 
visits to the farmsteads, visits in which all the 
children delighted. These travelling workers 
brought news of the neighboring farms. They 
were quite ready to talk to the children as they 
worked. Small Mary must have received her 



THE WOMAN'S BUREAU 61 

first knowledge of the parts of a shoe from some 
old and jolly shoemaker who joked while he 
sorted sole from side leather. Later she was to 
know the difference between factory work and 
farm work, but the memories of those happy 
farm days stayed with Mary to ease many a 
hard experience of her later life, 

Besides the happy chatter of neighborhood 
happenings that Mary heard throughout her 
childhood, there was talk of the world outside, 
especially of a part of the world called Amer 
ica. Sometimes a letter found its way to her 
father's hands, a letter from a sister who had 
gone to America and liked it. The whole 
family gathered while the letter was read ; the 
children were quite breathless at the thought 
of the high wages their elder sister was receiv 
ing in the far-away land where money seemed 
to roll toward anyone who wished it, that is, 
anyone who was willing to work, and everyone 
in the Anderson family was energetic. Dreams 
began to form in Mary's head. She had fin 
ished school. There was nothing for her to do 
but to go into a neighbor's kitchen for low 
wages. How much better, she thought, to go 
to that far-away sister in America and do some 



62 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

other sort of work and earn well, she felt 
quite energetic enough to earn a fortune. Then 
there would be the delight of travelling fur 
ther than the old market cart could carry her. 
Geography would come alive if she were brave 
and ventured forth into the world. Another 
sister shared Mary's ambition; the parents 
gave their consent to the trip, and when Mary 
was sixteen the farm cart stood outside the door 
not loaded with gay vegetables, but carrying 
two brave little sisters, their faces turned 
toward America and their passage money 
pinned inside their little bodices. 

The ocean, Ellis Island, and then the long 
railroad journey to Ludington, Michigan, 
where the pioneer sister was working, all this 
travel was safely accomplished without a word 
of English being spoken by the two sisters. 
They were in a new country and a new lan 
guage met them everywhere, but as yet they 
could not speak it. For this reason Mary's 
dream of escaping domestic service and busy 
ing herself with some more congenial employ 
ment vanished for a time. Circumstances 
forced her into an American kitchen. It was 
a drab life she lived, bent over a hot range with 



THE WOMAN'S BUREAU 63 

only a tiny back bedroom to call her own. Her 
one free afternoon a week she spent with her 
sisters, and during any free minutes she had, 
she studied English in the newspapers and in 
every contact with her new life. She also stud- 
led the customs of her new environment 

When she was seventeen Mary had a chance 
to study the influence of machinery on Ameri 
can life. Her eldest sister married and went 
to a Chicago suburb to live. Mary followed 
her to West Pullman and found work in a gar 
ment factory. After a week devoted to trying 
to put men's clothing together, she found more 
congenial occupation in a shoe manufactory. 
For eighteen years she earned her living by 
stitching shoes. But she did not study shoes 
merely; she studied the girls who made them. 
She saw that unless they joined together for 
the betterment of working conditions, girls 
like herself would be little better than cogs in 
the wheels of the big machine called industry. 
She had mastered English, and she had much 
to say and she said It well. She urged the girls 
to think and to help each other, not toward idle 
ness but toward better working ways, Mary 
was a leader as well as a worker, and after her 



64 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

eighteen years of stitching she became a na 
tional organizer of the Women's Trade Union 
League. She never forgot her interest, how 
ever, in shoes, or rather in the girls who help 
to make them. 

Of course, by this time, Mary Anderson had 
become a thorough American. She had taken 
a short course in English when in Chicago. 
She had taken a long course in citizenship 
while in the factories. She was intensely in 
terested in her new country and its workers. 
She had worked in Chicago, Milwaukee, in 
Dixon, and in Lynn, Massachusetts. She knew 
the shoe industry in the East as well as in ffie 
West She had always attended Labor meet 
ings. She rose from the ranks to leadership 
well equipped with facts about workers and 
wages. She served faithfully as president of 
Local 94 of the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union. 
In her work as a National Trade Union Organ 
izer Mary had eight years of experience before 
the World War summoned her to a position of 
even greater responsibility. In her pre-War 
work Mary had organized the nurses and other 
women workers in the hospitals of Illinois. 
She gave the telephone girls in the South the 



THE WOMAN'S BUREAU 65 

trade union Idea. Her work took her often to 
Washington. When the War came she was 
asked to join the Woman in Industry division 
of the Council of National Defense. Her spe 
cial work was the supervision of the laboring 
conditions of women munitions workers. Later 
she was appointed to be head of the Woman in 
Industry Service, out of which has grown the 
Woman's Bureau of the Labor Department of 
the United States. What Grace Abbott of the 
Children's Bureau does for the children of the 
country, Mary Anderson now does for its 
women in industry. 

The little girl from the Swedish farm has 
taken her place beside the great leaders of 
America. She has mastered English, and she 
has mastered much more the ideals of a new 
country. " Social justice for women who 
work," is the way Mary Anderson sums up 
these Ideals in a sentence. "There are over 
eight and a half million women gainfully em 
ployed at present in the United States/' Mary 
Anderson is quoted as saying in a recent inter 
view, "our aim is to safeguard the interests of 
these women we help to make their service 
effective for the national good." 



66 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

"The national good/ 5 that Is the big ideal 
that Is working In the big heart of Mary And 
erson who first served America In a kitchen and 
who now serves her adopted country in the 
Washington Government. 



IX 

MABEL CRATTY 
A Leader of Leaders 

WHEN we see the word leader, most of us in 
stantly have a vision of a solitary figure ad 
vancing across some pathless waste or up some 
craggy mountain, followed by a company per 
haps in mass formation, perhaps in straggling 
groups. But always we seem to see a brave and 
lonely form well ahead of all the others. But 
there might be another kind of leadership sug 
gesting another kind of picture. The leader 
might choose not to march ahead but to re 
main in the very middle of the ranks suggest 
ing, encouraging, assisting, comforting, so 
clearly one with the rest that other people 
might not realize there was a leader there at 
all. Such a person might even succeed in so 
helping the others to perceive their own possi 
bilities that in the end the whole company 
might go farther toward the goal than if led 

67 



68 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

by one who simply forged ahead without "turn- 
Ing back to see if the rest were coming along, 
and were keeping In step. Such leadership, 
from within rather than from without, is like 
a central fire that warms and illuminates so 
simply that not everyone benefited by It stops 
to realize that the fire is there until they miss it 
Mabel Cratty was a leader who led not by 
going ahead, but by remaining at the centre. 
The Young Women's Christian Association is 
what it is to-day a world-wide company of 
women all stepping forward with one purpose 
because for some twenty-two years Mabel 
Cratty was at the heart of the movement. Her 
office was that of General Secretary of the Na 
tional Board. She filled this office in such a 
way that it became like a glowing central fire 
with an influence that spread to the farthest 
reaches of the whole organization. Mabel 
Cratty's attitude toward her position was so 
humble and at the same time so responsible that 
probably she regarded herself as much more 
a follower than a leader and she somehow 
taught the people who worked with her to feel 
that way about themselves, too. No one could 
come near Miss Cratty without catching, as 



A LEADER OF LEADERS 69 

one fire is kindled by another, something of the 
steadfast, glowing spirit that burned like a 
flame within her fragile, dauntless body. 

As everyone knows, the work of the Young 
Women's Christian Association is conducted 
by its secretaries, stationed as they are all over 
this country, and over the whole world as well 
Miss Cratty was the secretary of the secretaries. 
Her words spoken to them, her letters written 
to them, her example set before them, reveal a 
leader who led not by going ahead but by keep 
ing abreast of others. A devoted friend and 
close companion through many years has writ 
ten a little book called Mabel Cratty, Leader 
in the Art of Leadership. Made up of the liv 
ing memories of the many women associated 
with her, this book makes the woman in it alive 
for other people, too. Reading it, one can see 
how all who worked with her are still trying 
to keep burning the fire she kindled, the fire she 
was. And there's another thought : any of us 
in these days, if we're worth anything, may at 
any time from High School to our last breath, 
be called on to lead somebody somewhere, or 
perhaps to lead many people. It would be well 
for all of us to know something about a woman 



yo GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

who believed that all leadership should be 
through association, not through separation. 

Mabel Cratty was bora in Bellaire, Ohio, in 
1868, the eldest of five children. She was of 
Scotch-Irish stock. Her mother's father, Mat 
thew Thoburn, had come from the north of 
Ireland with his wife, driving across Pennsyl 
vania to the home-to-be in Bellaire. When 
Mary Thoburn married Charles Cratty, their 
home was near the ancestral acres. The Cratty 
children grew up in a deeply religious atmos 
phere. The missionary zeal of their near rela 
tives could not have failed to fire their imagina 
tions. An uncle, James Thoburn, was bishop 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in India. 
Their aunt, Isabella Thoburn, was a mission 
ary whose furloughs were a thrilling event in 
the domestic history. Though Mabel Cratty 
never saw the college in Lucknow which now 
bears this aunt's name, her vivid imagination 
could 'describe every picture on its walls. It 
was a gentle, beautiful family life, Mabel 
Cratty's. A cherished memory of her father 
was of his sympathy in helping her control the 
quick temper they both shared, a temper which 
seems to have left no later trace upon Miss 



A LEADER OF LEADERS 71 

Cratty's serene spirit There were In the home 
two background characters who had a lasting 
influence, the lame Grandmother Cratty, 
seated in her sunny window mending all the 
small hose, and comforting all the small trou 
bles, and Aunt Liddy, the beloved negro nurse 
who had once been a runaway slave. 

When Mabel Cratty was seventeen her 
father died, and she was called on to share all 
her mother's responsibilities during the period 
when she herself was meeting her own responsi 
bilities at school and college. That the chil 
dren-might have better educational advantages, 
the family moved from Bellaire to Delaware, 
Ohio. Here in 1890 Mabel Cratty graduated 
from Ohio Wesleyan University with high 
honors. Much as she now longed to follow her 
aunt to India, she decided that she was too 
much needed at home to be a missionary and 
so became a teacher instead. She was princi 
pal of the High School in her own home town 
of Delaware from 1892 until in 1904 she 
turned from teaching to work In the Y. W. 
C. A. In 1906 the present Young Women's 
Christian Association came into being, as we 
now know it, being the union of two kindred 



72 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

organizations that had long existed side by 
side. Of this united body of women. Miss 
Grace Dodge now became president, and Miss 
Cratty General Secretary. Out of the great 
friendship of these two women came a remark 
able two-fold leadership, only ended by Miss 
Dodge's death In December 1914, and Miss 
C ratty' s in February 1928. 

Such is the very brief sketch of a very big 
life. But It Is not by these meagre facts, nor 
even by her intense devotion to her family, her 
church, her village, that Mabel Cratty is best 
revealed. The way to know her is by listening 
to some of the things she said to other people 
or about them, and by some of the things other 
people said about her. But one must remem 
ber that it Is not easy to describe a person who 
was like a clear burning flame quietly lighting 
and quietly cheering everybody near her. Nor 
Is it easy to describe a leader who always walked 
close beside people Instead of stepping on 
ahead. Those who knew her best remember 
her by little cosy mental photographs. In spite 
of her high public office Mabel Cratty was a 
most personal woman. Her friends can still 
see her, always dainty and exquisite, with her 



A LEADER OF LEADERS 73' 

softly curling hair ashine in the lamplight as 
she crochets innumerable little Christmas gifts. 
She had long slender hands that loved to sew, 
loved to launder beautiful laces, loved to wan 
der over the piano keys In the evening, impro 
vising. All these homey pictures her friends 
recall while, at the same time, they remember 
the keen pithy sayings that fell from her wise, 
humorous lips. They can still hear her say: 

"Don't remember that for which you have 
been blamed for more than a day, nor that for 
which you have been praised more than fifteen 
minutes. Praise gives a fillip to a meal ; but it 
Is very poor food. Nothing Is more danger 
ous than to acquire the habit of absorbing praise 
and feeding on our successes. Blame is a good 
deal the same way. We ought to get the juice 
out of it and then forget it." 

It is no wonder that Mabel Cratty's life was 
so rich in friendships, when at fifty-three she 
could say, "All the friendships I am most de 
pendent upon now I have made since I was 
thirty-five. The main thing, I think, is to 
make many rather than few, value them for 
what you can put into them rather than that 
for what you can get out of them." 



74 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Miss Cratty was a person who lived a high, 
victorious life in spite of a fragile body and in 
spite of personal sorrows, so that she had the 
right to say to a friend in grief, "Go through 
the days, if you can, taste what they bring of 
pain; the way Is through, not around." 

When Miss Cratty's leadership carried her 
on Into what she called the Undiscovered 
Country, some of those to whom she left her 
work tried to put into words what their lost 
leader had meant to them. 

One friend writes a wonderful summary of 
her character In a few lines, "Although she 
carried responsibilities equalled by those of 
only a few other women of her time, she was 
so essentially a human being that the adjective 
'simple' has been used to describe her more 
often than any other, save perhaps 'serene'." 

Miss Cratty was on many an important com 
mittee that is helping to shape the world's his 
tory. A member of one such committee said 
of her, "She was a statesman. But we took her 
for granted. We know now that no member of 
our group could be more missed." 

Miss Cratty was a leader who led by mak 
ing other people believe la themselves rather 



A LEADER OF LEADERS 75 

than merely believing In her. Hers was the 
kind of leadership that could make a visiting 
lecturer say to her of the Young Women's 
Christian Association, "What I like about your 
show is that the woman who is the head of it 
Is one who stays in the background and thinks." 



X 

CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT 
Crusader 

BACK In the sixties of the last century there was 
a solitary little girl on a big old Iowa farm, 
who was doing a great deal of thinking while 
she played about with her dog. Little Carrie 
Lane had clear blue eyes that wished to see 
everything and to see through everything, then 
as now. With her grace and her blowing 
blonde hair she was very charming to look at, 
but there were a great many other things that 
interested her more than her appearance or 
her charm, then as now. At five a quaint little 
figure in a long wide-skirted dress she had 
insisted on going to school. In those first school 
days something happened that was to influence 
all her life. This something was hoop-skirt, 
not her own but a little classmate's. As the 
class stood arow before the teacher, suddenly 
down fell the hoop-skirt. Its owner burst into 
tears, while the little boys burst into giggles. 

76 



CRUSADER 77 

Then as now Carrie Lane was a person always 
to do something about it when girl or woman 
is laughed at by boy or man. She waited until 
school was out, then pulled her weepy little 
friend abreast of the giggliest boy, and herself 
made right at his grin the very ugliest grimace 
she could manage! To-day, Mrs. Carrie Chap 
man Catt, silver-haired in her first seventies^ 
looks back at the incident and sees it as a proph 
ecy of her future, for then and there she be 
came a crusader, then and there she became, 
to remain until now, a champion of her sex. 

Leaders are often led In strange ways to their 
leadership. Born in 1859, Carrie Lane was 
still on the nearer side of ten when most unex 
pectedly to herself, for she had always been a 
most practical person, she heard a voice out of 
the air. She was all alone with her dog ia a 
far-away lane. She was In the habit of telling 
stories to this dog, stories of famous heroic men 
and women, for she was an amazing reader, 
loving all the history she could lay her hands 
on. Now straight out of nowhere she heard 
words, addressed to her, "You, too, are going 
to be called upon to do a great work in the 
world. But when the time comes you will not 



78 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

be ready. You do not study hard enough, or 
work hard enough." Wherever that voice 
came from, out of the sky or out of her own 
busy little brain and lively conscience, the girl 
who heard those last words never forgot them. 
Though she is still leading people along ever- 
new brave paths, she has never been self-con 
fident, always she has studied, always she has 
worked. 

Carrie Lane followed the same educational 
course that many a farm-dwelling girl has 
taken. District School first, then High School, 
then a State College, working her way, every 
step, stopping to teach when that became neces 
sary, as It did for two years when, at sixteen, she 
graduated from High School. At eighteen she 
entered Iowa State College as a sophomore. 
Dish-washing at nine cents an hour, and li 
brary work at ten cents an hour, did not dampen 
her enthusiasm for study or for student activi 
ties. She was prominent in debates and found 
time, as a side-line, to go into Herbert Spen 
cer's philosophy ardently and extensively, so 
that she can still quote him at length in her 
speeches made to-day. Graduating In 1880 
at twenty-one she announced her intention to 



CRUSADER 79 

become a lawyer. This was an unheard-of ad 
venture for a girl of that decade, but in spite of 
popular prejudice and her father's opposition^ 
Carrie Lane stuck to her chosen profession, 
earning the money by being Principal of 
Schools in Mason City from 1881 to 1884. She 
had just completed her law studies when, in 
January, 1885, she married Leo Chapman, edi 
tor of the Mason City Republican. Full of 
enthusiasm for the opportunities of the far 
West, the young husband sold his paper, and 
in April 1886, he set forth to San Francisco, 
hoping to start another there, and then to send 
for his wife. But the venture was doomed al 
most before it began. In August, Leo Chap 
man became ill with typhoid fever and died 
before his wife could reach him. At twenty- 
seven, after only a year and a half of married 
life, Carrie Lane Chapman found herself a 
widow and penniless in a strange city two thou 
sand miles from home. 

At that time women were not used to going 
into business, nor were men used to meeting 
women in their offices. And Mrs. Chapman 
was very pretty. She undertook at once a gen 
eral utility position on a trade paper. This 



80 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

position carried her everywhere seeking ad 
vertisements. Not all the men she met realized 
that she was courageous and grief-stricken and 
determined to earn her own brave living. The 
treatment she received sometimes brought back 
her emotions of the time of the hoop-skirt, but 
did not permit her the same outlet After 
some months of hard experience she gave up 
all effort to break Into the business world, but 
withdrew resolved to devote her life to making 
other women's lot there easier. She herself 
now turned to lecturing. Beginning by speak 
ing at Teachers 5 Institutes, she became quickly 
more and more in demand. Her favorite sub- 
f ect was woman's contribution to all civiliza 
tion. She has always been a most gifted and 
persuasive speaker. It was not long before the 
suffrage movement attracted her attention, nor 
long before her ability attracted the attention 
of the suffrage movement 

Within the decade during which women 
have had the vote, too many of us have forgot 
ten the women who spent decades fighting to 
get It for us. Of these early crusaders Mrs. 
Catt was one of the bravest and most untiring. 
She has been called "the brains of the suffrage 



CRUSADER 81 

movementj as Lucy Stone was Its conscience, 
Miss Anthony its heart, Mrs. Stanton its at 
torney, Miss Shaw its orator." In 1885, the 
year when Mrs. Chapman first became inter 
ested in suffrage, she was much younger than 
the other leaders, but these others at once recog 
nised her ability, and were glad to give her 
opportunity. After her husband's death, Car 
rie Lane Chapman needed a great Cause to en 
list all her energy. If there had not been such 
a Cause all ready for her crusading, she would 
probably have made one for herself, for she is 
still making new causes for herself to cham 
pion. 

Mrs. Catt is a fighter, but a serene one. She 
does not fly at people's throats, she is not 
ashamed of tact She has a sense of humor and 
uses it. At the time when suffragists were 
viewed as a lot of wild-haired lunatics, she was 
careful to dress most charmingly, and to speak 
so logically that a man once said, after hearing 
her, "There isn't a man in Christendom that can 
answer the arguments of these women, but I'd 
rather see my wife dead in her coffin than going 
to vote." There is no male living who would 
speak those last words to-day, and the chief rea- 



82 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

son he would not, is Mrs. Carrie Chapman 
Catt, and her forty years' work for suffrage. 
From the year 1880, when she organized Iowa 
to work for the woman's vote, to the year 1920, 
when enfranchisement for women became the 
law of the land, Carrie Chapman Catt never 
ceased travelling, speaking, organising until 
there was not a state in the Union that did not 
know her. Nor has she stopped with winning 
women's rights only in her own country. Kings 
and prime ministers across the water have lis 
tened to her arguments, but best of all, women 
themselves have listened to her. More than 
any other one woman Mrs. Catt has succeeded 
in making women believe in themselves. In 
1900 the women of her own land made her 
president of the National Association, in 1904 
women of all lands made her president of the 
International Woman Suffrage Association. 
Resigning her American position to take this 
other, she held it for twenty years. In 1904 
when she assumed office there were only five 
nations with suffrage societies, in 1924, when 
she retired, there were thirty-two such nations, 
and twenty-eight countries had given the vote 
to women. 



CRUSADER 83 

Mrs. Catt is a leader who, as soon as she 
reaches one goal, sees another beyond, beckon 
ing. As soon as her country-women had per 
ceived the franchise, she perceived that the 
vote meant more than a privilege, it meant re 
sponsibilities, and about these responsibilities 
women as a whole knew very little. They 
needed to learn what effect their ballot would 
have on city and country and national govern 
ment. Here was opportunity for a new Cause. 
Mrs. Catt made one, and set in motion its or 
ganization. Now that women had the vote, 
the next thing was that they should educate 
themselves to use it Thus, out of Mrs. Catt's 
gift of foresight, plus her gift for organization, 
there came into being that widespread associa 
tion named the League of Women Voters, 
whose chief purpose is information. 

During her forty years of suffrage service, 
there were, of course, other interests, other 
events in Carrie Lane Chapman's life. In 
1890 she married George Catt, a civil engineer 
and a former Iowa classmate. Their happy 
comradeship was ended in 1905, and the shock 
of his death caused a break-down so alarming 
that the doctor said her own life now depended 



84 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

on a two-years rest Mr. Catt's death was fol 
lowed by the added sorrow of losing her 
mother in 1907. In spite of illness, however, 
Mrs. Catt was not one to remain inactive. She 
began to see something new to do for suffrage. 
Up to this time suffrage had been a movement 
and a hope, but it had not been a political party, 
modelled on the lines of the other two parties. 
There were still to be eleven years of struggle 
before the Nineteenth Amendment became, in 
1920, an accomplished fact, but there might 
have been many more than eleven years inter 
vening if, in 1909, Mrs. Catt had not estab 
lished a model organization, to be later copied 
all over the country the Woman Suffrage 
Party in the City of New York. 

Mrs. Catt has been a leader in the suffrage 
cause, and in others, notably, Prohibition : she 
conceived and established the League of 
Women Voters : but these things have not been 
enough. To-day she has become a pioneer for 
world peace. A trip around the world in 
1911 gave her new vision of what might hap 
pen if all the nations should pool their ideas 
and cooperate to win them. The World War 
gave her an even clearer vision of what might 



CRUSADER 85 

happen If the nations should refuse to do this, 
and instead arm to annihilate each other. 
There must be a way to stop war, Mrs. Catt be 
lieves, and this way women must find. Con 
vinced both of her own responsibilities to all 
women, and of all women's responsibilities to 
the world, Mrs. Catt, in the year 1924, wrote 
letters to the heads of various great organiza 
tions of women, asking these chosen representa 
tives to meet with her in order that together 
they might consider ways to win the war against 
war. The result of this meeting was a confer 
ence with delegates from eleven great associa 
tions meeting in Washington, first in 1925, and 
in every January since then. The annual con 
ference is not all the activities of the National 
Committee on the Cause and Cure of War 
reach into every month of the year and into 
every state of the U. S. A. Always a practical 
person, Mrs, Catt believes that if you can find 
the cause of a disease, you can find a cure. The 
discussions of experts, that now take place each 
January, are known all over the world, the sug 
gestions for help that are made there are stir 
ring women everywhere. This very summer 
of 1931 the Committee on the Cause and Cure 



86 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

of War is back of millions of women who are 
signing their names to petitions to be placed 
before their statesmen at the Disarmament 
Conference next February. And back of these 
millions of women, all determined to abolish 
war is one woman, most determined of them 
all, a frail valiant woman, blue-eyed, silver- 
haired, and seventy-two. 

What her country thinks of Mrs. Catt is re 
vealed by the fact that in 1930 the Pictorial 
Review bestowed on her its annual "Achieve 
ment Award" of $5,000, a prize given to the 
woman considered to have made in the previ 
ous year the most outstanding contribution to 
American life. For forty years Mrs. Catt has 
been leading Causes. She has fought one cru 
sade after another, successfully and at the same 
time serenely. Perhaps one secret of that ser 
enity is that she is still, at heart, the little dream 
ing girl of that old Iowa farm. An hour from 
the centre of her activities in New York she 
has a sunny quiet house and a home-acre made 
into semblance of a farm. There she cultivates 
her flowers to perfection, there she makes the 
jellies any housekeeper might envy. There, 
from her green- framed windows, she gazes into 



CRUSADER 87 

the future and sees the far goal she is leading 
the women of the world to win, the goal of 
peace for all nations. 



XI 

ANNA GARLIN SPENCER 
Faithful to the Finish 

WHICH do you like better, vacations or work? 
Do you want Christmas every day in the year, 
or have you a favorite study that lifts you out 
of every day into new worlds? Just how you 
feel about these questions will decide several 
chapters, if not the whole book, of your life. 
Rest is necessary and delightful, but the worth 
while people of the past have merely used it 
as a means to an end, the end of more useful 
work. Think it out for yourself. Don't let 
anyone else do your thinking for you. Answer 
the questions WHAT DO I WANT TO 
DO? WHAT DO I WANT TO BE? 

The Reverend Anna Garlin Spencer an 
swered these questions early in life and when 
she died at the age of seventy-nine years, she 
was still faithful to her first decisions. She 
considered herself fortunate to continue her 
chosen work until within two days of her death. 

88 



FAITHFUL TO THE FINISH 89 

A little wisp of a woman, whom a friend has 
described as "no bigger than a half-pint of 
cider/' she was able to do great things. Usu 
ally she wore a gray dress, but she herself was 
full of life and color. Her beautiful voice was 
not monotonous, for it ranged from the high 
tones of the platform lecturer to the low tones 
of the symp athetic minister. It was controlled, 
yet charged with emotion and life. Anna Gar- 
lin Spencer needed her voice, she needed her 
energy for through her own efforts she became 
a writer, a preacher, a platform lecturer, a 
social worker, a teacher, a suffrage enthusiast, 
a world peace worker, and many other things; 
she did everything well because she found work 
more interesting than play. 

Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, April 17, 
1851, Anna Garlin studied in private schools 
until at the age of nineteen she entered news 
paper work, having the good fortune to secure 
employment with the Providence, Rhode Isl 
and, Journal. But reporting was not enough 
for energetic Anna ; she also lectured on social 
problems and sometimes she preached. In the 
year 1878 she married the Reverend William 
EL Spencer and proved very helpful to him In 



90 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

his work at Haverhill and at Florence, Massa 
chusetts, and later at Troy, New York. Anna 
became so deeply Interested in the ministry 
that she herself was ordained and installed as 
a minister in the Bell Street Chapel, Provi 
dence, Rhode Island, in the year 1891. 

But this was by no means the end of Anna's 
working plans. The list of her achievements, 
printed in a New York newspaper the day fol 
lowing her death, is amazing in its scope; 
"She was associate leader of the New York 
Society for Ethical Culture from 1903 to 1909 ; 
associate director and staff lecturer of the New 
York School of Philanthropy 1903 1913; a 
special lecturer on social services and social a& 
pects of education at the University of Wiscon 
sin, 1908 to 191 1 ; director of the summer school 
of ethics for the American Ethical Union, 1908 
to 191 1 ; director of the Institute of Municipal 
and Social Service, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 
1910 and 1911 ;Hackley professor of Sociology 
and Ethics in the Theological School, Mead- 
ville, Pennsylvania, 1913 to 1918. She also 
lectured at the University of Chicago in 1918. 
Afterward she was connected with Teachers' 
College, New York." 



FAITHFUL TO THE FINISH 91 

These dates and facts must be filled out in 
the Imagination of each reader if Anna Spen 
cer is to be intimately known; and she was in 
timately known by many people. The statis 
tics of her life may seem dry and over-scholarly 
but the real woman was not A student in the 
New York School of Social Work has de 
scribed the associate director, Anna Spencer. 
She was not one to direct her students merely 
to books, she sent them to life for their instruc 
tion in the conditions under which the poor of 
a great city live. Those afternoons in Jails and 
poorhouses are unforgotten. The dreadful 
place where the City of New York then cared 
for its feeble-minded children amid a swarm 
of flies had no terrors for Anna; when her 
pupils became discouraged she told them what 
the work meant to her and they soon regained 
their enthusiasm. Her interests were not lim 
ited to the poor; they seemed to embrace the 
whole mass of humanity; everyone indeed 
whose life touched Anna Spencer's was the 
better for her interest, her advice. 

Her work was vast and it did not lack appre 
ciation. On her seventy-fifth birthday a din 
ner was given at the Hotel Astor, New York. 



92 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Speeches were made and a purse of three thou 
sand dollars was presented. The aging enthu 
siast was not, however, ready to allow Increas 
ing birthdays to keep her from her chosen work. 
She continued to plan more work for herself 
and her associates. One of the projects unfin 
ished at the time of her death was the arrange 
ment of an exhibit at the World's Fair to be 
held in Chicago in 1932, the exhibit to show 
the advancement of womankind through the 
centuries. Friends of Mrs. Spencer will now 
carry on this work. It is interesting to remem 
ber that at the World's Columbian Exposition 
held in Chicago in 1893, Dr. Spencer had 
charge of a similar exhibit 

The body of Anna Garlin Spencer was bur 
ied at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, 
Rhode Island. Her spirit can never be buried. 
Besides her beautiful funeral a memorial meet 
ing was held for her shortly after her death in 
New York City. One hundred representatives 
of organizations that had known Anna Spencer 
as an official worker gathered together in the 
meeting house of the Ethical Culture Society, 
2 West Sixty-fourth Street Mrs. Frances P. 
Parke, past president of the National Council 



FAITHFUL TO THE FINISH 93 

of Women of the United States, presided. 

The meeting was opened with a hymn writ 
ten by Dr. Spencer, "Hail the Hero Workers." 
Speeches of appreciation were made by Dr.- 
Benjamin Andrews of Teachers College, Col 
umbia University, and Dr. James A. Falrley, 
Pastor of the White Plains Community 
Church. Dr. John Love joy Elliott also spoke 
and Dr. Valeria H. Parker. The spirit of 
Anna Spencer seemed very near her followers ; 
they felt the call to continue the great work of 
the woman who, as a girl, had chosen to be use 
ful and to find her joy In serving humanity. 

It is difficult to decide in which of her many 
fields of effort Anna Garlin Spencer was most 
distinguished ; perhaps she is best known and 
remembered by the short democratic word 
WORKER. She proved for herself and for 
others that while play is a pleasant word. It is 
WORK that best bears the tests of time. 



XII 

MOTHER SETON 
Pioneer 

CERTAIN paragraphs appearing in the papers 
this July of 1931 have set some of us searching 
our schoolroom memories for a half-forgotten 
name. Mother Seton? Yes, we studied about 
her once in our American history, but what was 
it she did? A woman must have done some 
thing, must have been something, if more than 
a hundred years after her death fifty pilgrims 
from all over the world should today gather in 
Rome in order to beg the Pope's assistance to 
ward making this woman a saint On July 22 
of this year 1931, this pilgrim delegation laid 
before the Pope twenty-nine volumes, contain 
ing 1 50,000 signatures supporting their request. 
A priest from far-off Iowa spoke in the Papal 
audience chamber, pleading one by one the 
reasons for Mother Seton's sainthood. 

Now people are not easily made saints, with 
94 



PIONEER 95 

their names revered In churches, and their days 
sacred in the church calendar. The process of 
their selection, the painstaking examination 
into the history of their lives, and into the fit 
ness of their characters, has been known in some 
instances to take several centuries. It is now 
thirty years since the movement was begun to 
have the name of Mrs. Elizabeth Bayley Seton 
made that of a saint. The present revived in 
terest in her story sends a reader back to old rec 
ords and old documents to discover there a per 
sonality so vivid and so varied that no one 
would want to miss Mother Seton' s acquaint 
ance. One wishes to know something about 
that actual, historic woman who, if she is canon 
ized, will become the first American saint. 
One recalls that it is not only her own church 
that is trying to keep her memory alive because 
of her beautiful life, but that she has still an 
other right to our attention. A bronze tablet 
in the Hall of Fame at New York University 
reminds the public that Mother Seton was an 
accomplished writer, one of her country's first 
woman-writers, leaving volumes of journals 
and correspondence valuable not only to litera 
ture but to history. 



96 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

To go back to find Elizabeth Bayley Seton 
in the journals she has written about herself 
and In the books other people have written 
about her. Is to come upon two women who 
seem at first as different as the two portraits, 
one of a girl with the flowing, ribbon-bound 
curls and short-walsted dress of the 1790*8, and 
the other a woman whose fine, delicate face is 
set in a close nun-like bonnet But the high 
hearted, high-spirited girl with curls tumbling 
over her shoulders, and the worn, saddened 
woman in the nun's bonnet had certain under 
lying qualities of energy and sympathy and 
splendid courage that made them one, as the 
story of that unf orgotten life will show. 

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born in 1774 in 
New York. Her family was well-to-do, prom 
inent In society, and Protestant In faith. Her 
mother was the daughter of an Episcopal min 
ister of Staten Island. Her father, Dr. Rich 
ard Bayley, was professor of Anatomy in that 
historic institution which was first called 
King's College, and later called Columbia. 
After the Revolution, Dr. Bayley was made 
the first Director General of the New York 
Health Department In this office he estab- 



PIONEER 97 

Hshed the first quarantine laws for all incom 
ing ships. 

Her mother died when the small girl was 
only three, but when the father remarried a 
few years later, little Elizabeth Ann became, 
and always remained, very fond of her step 
mother. This stepmother was a most earnest 
High Church Episcopalian, and the early, and 
lasting, effect of her faith and practices upon 
a sensitive and deeply religious young girl can 
be clearly traced. The chief influence, how 
ever, upon the growing child, was her father's. 
The two were the closest of comrades. Eliza 
beth Bayley's education was chiefly the prod 
uct of reading with her father. He himself, 
though born in Connecticut, had been educated 
in England and passed on to his daughter not 
only the knowledge but the mental habits he 
had learned in English universities. From her 
father, too, Elizabeth must have acquired her 
unswerving courage, and her devotion to duty, 
even unto death. 

Elizabeth Bayley's life was that of the usual 
New York society girl of that early period. In 
1794 she married William Magee Seton, a 
member, like herself, of a prominent family. 



98 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

The father of William Seton was head of a 
prosperous shipping firm. One of the sisters, 
Rebecca, the young wife came to love so deeply 
that she called her, "the friend of my soul." 
The two young women were so interested in 
visiting and helping the poor of their city that 
they became known as the Protestant Sisters of 
Mercy. In the nine years that followed their 
marriage five children were born to the Setons, 
but the young mother's interests were not re 
stricted to her home. On one occasion, during 
one of New York's periodical visitations of 
yellow fever, she appeared at her father's im 
provised quarantine hospital, and offered to 
nurse the sick children just removed from a 
vessel. Her father, however, sent her quickly 
back to her own babies. The happiness and 
prosperity of her early married life were soon 
to end because of the disturbed conditions of 
commerce due to the French Revolution and 
the Napoleonic wars. The swift ruin of his 
shipping business resulted in the elder Seton's 
death. William Seton and his wife now had 
all the responsibility both of the father's family 
and of their own. The Setons were prone to 
tuberculosis, and those were days when too 



PIONEER 99 

little was known either about detecting or cur 
ing this disease, and when practically nothing 
was known about safeguards against any dis 
ease. It is to these terrible facts of ignorance 
that the two great sorrows of Elizabeth Seton's 
life were due. 

Refusing his daughter's care for the sick chil 
dren in his charge, Dr. Bayley himself stayed 
by his little patients, although he knew them 
hopelessly ill. He himself caught the dreaded 
yellow fever from them, and died of it in 1801. 
Elizabeth's grief for him was followed by new 
anxiety over her young husband's health. Busi 
ness worry increased his illness, and in 1803 
the pair, taking with them their eldest 
child Anna, aged eight, set out by the doctor's 
orders on a long sea voyage. Their chosen des 
tination was Leghorn, the home city of the 
Filicchi brothers, Italian correspondents of 
the Seton firm. The warm sea breezes of the 
Mediterranean were so beneficial that the 
little group of three arrived in Leghorn in 
high spirits only to be met by such weeks of 
harshness and deprivation and suffering, as 
seem almost unbelievable as Elizabeth's vivid 
pen records them. 



ioo GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

The Italian authorities were afraid of New 
York's yellow fever, and recognized no differ 
ence between this disease and tuberculosis. The 
detention spot for the sick arriving from other 
ports was not a hospital but the terrible Laza 
retto prison. A cold, narrow, grated cell, ooz 
ing damp, received the little family. No one 
was allowed to see them. Their food was 
pushed to them through a grating. There the 
invalid lay coughing away his life on a straw 
mattress In the corner. And there. In these 
torturing conditions, the soul of Elizabeth 
Seton came Into its own. She had always been 
both deeply religious and, at the same time, 
outgoing in all her sympathies and activities. 
She was now not overcome, instead she prayed 
with such conviction as she had never known 
Tbef ore. A sense of God's presence and his love 
came to her now with a new overwhelming 
realization. While she nursed and tended her 
husband ceaselessly, her letters of the time re 
veal the ecstasy of her faith, as It supported him 
In all his suffering. The efforts of the Filicchi 
brothers at last secured the release of the three 
just before Christmas, 1 803 . They were driven 
to Pisa for the one week that remained of Wil- 



PIONEER 101 

Ham Seton's life. After his death the FIHcchis 
took the widow and little girl Into their own 
home, caring for them until their return to New 
York In June, 1804. Antonio Filicchi accom 
panied them on the voyage and remained al 
ways their devoted friend. 

But there were to be new and unforeseen 
trials in Elizabeth Seton's life. She and her 
little family were almost penniless and in those 
early days it was almost impossible for a 
woman to earn money. In addition to those 
hard facts, the young widow, after watching 
its manifestation in the kindly Italian home of 
the Filicchis, was steadily turning to the Cath 
olic creed, and was admitted to this church In 
1805. In that first decade of the nineteenth 
century religious prejudice in New York was 
so strong that a mob attacked the first Catholic 
church built there, St. Peter's in Barclay 
Street The Setons were so outraged that a 
woman bearing their name should become a 
convert that they almost secured her deporta 
tion, and refused to help in the children's sup 
port. Nevertheless, later, two of the Seton sis 
ters, Harriett and Cecilia, became Catholics, 
Desperate to find a means of livelihood, hand!- 



102 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

capped by her unpopular religion, Elizabeth 

Seton, still only thirty and with five little chil 
dren dependent on her, turned to teaching, but 
could find few pupils. She was now advised to 
try the more liberal city of Baltimore. Her 
little boys were placed through Catholic 
friends in Georgetown College ; and with her 
little girls Mrs. Seton embarked on a sailing 
vessel, arriving in Baltimore in June 1809 to 
begin there that period of her life which has 
caused her name to be considered worthy of 
sainthood. 

Under the hardships her faith had brought 
her in New York, Mrs. Seton's religion had 
only deepened and intensified, and her purpose 
to devote herself to some form of service to 
others had become more determined. Though 
the school for girls she conducted for three 
years in Baltimore was successful, she was not 
satisfied. It was to poor children, not rich ones 
that she longed to minister. The opportunity 
came to her in the gift of Mr. Cooper, the sum 
of $10,000 to found a home for destitute chil 
dren. Almost spontaneously people who passed 
her on the street had begun to call the woman 
who always wore a widow's dress, nun-like in 



PIONEER 103 

Its severity, "Mother Seton." The site chosen 
for the school was still untamed wilderness, a 
piece of woodland two miles from the little 
Catholic theological seminary that had been 
built at the little Maryland village of Emmits- 
burg, in the Blue Ridge mountains, some fifty 
miles from Baltimore. 

It was in this year, 1809, ^at Mother Seton 
entered on that period of her life which reveals 
her not only as a profoundly religious woman, 
but as a brave pioneer under actual first settler 
conditions, for which nothing in her affluent 
girlhood could have prepared her. The sister 
hood she was to establish was born in the wil 
derness. Its beginning was a fifty-mile tramp 
from Baltimore with the little group of chil 
dren and of devoted women wearing unobtru 
sive nun's dress, that Mother Seton had drawn 
about her. That two-days' trek in the spring 
ended in a one-room log house where later the 
little band endured the harsh winter during 
which the new school building was being built ; 
Mother Seton's high courage, Mother Seton's 
high faith, inspired them all. The chief arti 
cles of their diet were carrot coffee, salt pork 
and buttermilk. They thought nothing of 



104 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

trudging through the snow at four o'clock in 
the morning to offer their devotions in the semi 
nary chapel, two miles distant, until nine. One 
cannot read Mother Seton's own account of 
those early days and not thrill in response to 
her own bravery and devotion. She was a 
woman of force and practicality as well as pity. 
As the school grew she added paying pupils to 
the poorer ones. The little community pros 
pered, but its spirit remained always, like her 
own, other-worldly. It was inevitable that out 
of a faith like Mother Seton's should come the 
beginnings of great movements spreading 
through her church to-day. 

Probably deeply earnest people do not guess 
how far the movements they start so humbly 
are destined to extend down through history. 
And Mother Seton herself during her great 
years of service from 1809 to her death in 1821, 
must have been heavily preoccupied with her 
own sorrows. Her two sisters-in-law, Harriett 
and Cecilia, had joined her at the start in 1809, 
but both were already in fragile health. With 
in a few months Harriett was dead, and in 1810 
Cecilia followed her. Mother Seton's own 
daughters, young novices of the sisterhood, 



PIONEER 105 

died, Anna In 1812, Rebecca in 1815, still girls 
in their teens. 

Mother Seton's chief claim to fame is that 
in that little community of nuns in the forest 
she first established in the United States the 
great nursing sisterhood founded in France in 
the seventeenth century, the Sisters of Charity. 
Nuns and children together there were only a 
score with Mother Seton when she led that 
lonely Intrepid march from Baltimore to the 
log-house in the wilderness, fifty cross-country 
miles away. To-day, scattered all over the 
country, more than ten thousand Sisters of 
Charity reverence her example. 

When in this July, 1931, Father Code of 
Davenport, Iowa, addressed the Pope, giving 
reasons why a band of present-day pilgrims had 
come asking that Mother Seton be made a saint, 
he mentioned one by one those humble begin 
nings that from that tiny intrepid community 
In the wilderness were to grow into great activi 
ties. Mother Seton, Father Code said, opened 
the first free school for Catholic children, and 
so began the system of parochial schools. She 
sent her Sisters of Charity to found the first 
Catholic orphanages. She sent other sisters to 



io6 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

establish the first Catholic hospital. We who 
desire to be informed both as to the movements 
of to-day, and to have acquaintance with great 
characters in our past history, may well remem 
ber Father Code's words, summing up the rea 
sons why the Catholic Church in this country 
is desirous that Elizabeth Ann Seton be made 
a saint "Mother Seton inaugurated practi 
cally every work of Catholic social welfare in 
the United States." 



XIII 

MARGARET BONDFIELD 
ft Our Maggie" 

WHEN newspapers and periodicals begin to 
call a woman "our," It means something. It 
means a very great deal In the case of "Our 
Maggie," the Honorable Margaret Grace 
Bondfield, minister of Labor in the first Mac- 
Donald government of Great Britain. The 
first people to call Margaret Bondfield "Our 
Maggie" were her parents and her ten brothers 
and sisters away off in Somerset, England, some 
fifty-odd years ago. In those days as now Mar 
garet met the world with twinkling dark eyes 
and a ready smile. 

It wasn't a smiling world, that England of 
"Our Maggie's" little girlhood. Her father 
was a lace maker and such an industry does not 
supply Its workers' families with luxury. 
There were not even enough necessities to "go 
around" in the Bondfield family. In spite of 

107 



io8 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

poverty Margaret managed to go to school. 
She was eight when she made her first public 
speech at a Sunday-school tea. 

"I must have been a funny little object, with 
a shock of black hair, dressed in a brown stuff 
frock far too long," Miss Bondfield says, "I 
recited 'The Inventor's Wife/ which began: 

" 'They talk about the patience of Job; 

He hadn't got nothing to try him. 
If he'd been married to Bijah Brown 

Folks wouldn't have dared to come nigh 
him.' 

The little speaker's success was instantane 
ous and she had to give an encore. As "Our 
Maggie" grew a little older her love for books 
increased, but she was never a one-sided book 
worm. Outside sports rivalled study in the 
heart of the serious little brown-eyed English 
girl. She used her meagre opportunities so 
well that at thirteen she became the supply 
teacher of a class of boys in her home town pub 
lic school. But she was not to take up teaching 
as a career. Pressure of poverty in the home 
caused Margaret's mother to apprentice her 



"OUR MAGGIE" 109 

at fourteen to a clothing firm in London. It 
was a cramped life little Maggie lived, in the 
busy city. Her working hours were from sev 
en-thirty in the morning to eight in the eve 
ning with a half-holiday a week, which was 
more than offset by two late nights when she 
worked until ten or eleven o'clock. Her pay 
was about a hundred and twenty-five dollars a 
year and part of it was given her in board and 
lodging; such unappetizing meals, and such a 
dull crowded lodging room as Maggie had, 
would have discouraged many a girl but Mag 
gie was determined to conquer her surround 
ings. One weekly arrangement was particu 
larly distasteful to her ; she could only have a 
hot bath once a week and her only opportunity 
for that was at the public bathhouse three-quar 
ters of a mile distant Saturday was; one of the 
late nights, so picture little Margaret after a 
weary week racing at breakneck speed to reach 
the bathhouse before its midnight closing. She 
only had fifteen minutes of precious hot water 
and soaping and then back to the lodging house 
again to begin another week just like the last 
No, not quite like the last, for each week Mar 
garet Bondfield studied the working conditions 



no GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

and the working girls that surrounded her. 
She was ten years "behind the counter," but 
those years, each one of them, marked a period 
In her mental growth. She had come to know 
the union and its aims for the betterment of the 
worker. Trade unions had, up to the time 
Margaret knew them, been organizations for 
the workman; she organized a branch for 
women and girls. She was always a leader; 
women and girls were eager to follow her, even 
men recognized her power. When she was 
twenty-three she was elected a member of the 
district council of the London branch of the 
union. She wrote very intelligently for The 
Shop Assistant, a labor paper. 

Year by year "Our Maggie" has held more 
and more important positions in labor union 
work. She has become more and more deeply 
interested in shorter shop hours, trade boards 
and national health and hygiene. She was still 
in her twenties when, at the memorable Trade 
Union Congress at Plymouth in 1899, she spoke 
in favor of the Labor Party. Nearly twenty- 
five years later, again at Plymouth at the same 
sort of a Congress, she was elected the first 
woman chairman of the General Council and 



"OUR MAGGIE" in 

thus became the leader of eight million work 
ing women and men. Her speech of acknowl 
edgment was characteristic; "You men have 
shown that labor believes in the equality of 



women." 



Margaret Bondfield went up and up until 
she became the first woman to have a place in 
the British Cabinet It proved a very busy 
place indeed. Soon after she took office she 
was faced with the crisis of the Lancashire tex 
tile strike. And soft-voiced, quiet-mannered 
Margaret Bondfield can settle strikes because 
she has been a worker herself and knows how 
strikers feel. She has never forgotten the long 
hours and the overwork of her girlhood ; but 
for that matter her present hours are long, and 
she is apt to overwork in a good cause. She 
arranges every hour of her day to cover her 
many engagements, her letters, her interviews ; 
she plans for everything but the claims of 
Society with a large S ; for that she has little 
time. Yet "Our Maggie" is no dull drudge. 
She has been known to find a free afternoon to 
give an official tea at famous Montagu House, 
once a duke's residence and later used as the 
headquarters of Labor. At the famous tea 



ii2 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

Miss Bondfield wished all the members of the 
Labor Ministry to know each other and each 
other's families. To avoid mistakes in identity 
each person wore his or her printed name. 
After sufficient time had passed for the guests 
to meet, Miss Bondfield mounted a chair and 
named the various subjects to be discussed. She 
also named the people present who possessed 
the most up-to-date information on the given 
topics. 

The problem of unemployment looms big 
at any gathering where "Our Maggie" is pres 
ent She is a worker for workers always. Em 
ployment for the jobless, food for their fami 
lies, permanent remedies for present industrial 
evils all these questions take up the time and 
the busy brain of the woman labor leader. Back 
of the force that Margaret Bondfield throws 
into her life work is her great religious faith, 
her feeling that somehow, some day, some 
where, Christianity will rule this troubled 
world. Margaret's friend, the great preacher, 
Maude Hoyden, is a strong influence in her 
life. Miss Royden has published in her own 
periodical a part of a speech made by Margaret 
Bondfield on the two old subjects, politics and 



"OUR MAGGIE" 113 

religion. "I cannot understand/' Miss Bond- 
field is quoted as saying, "how any body of 
Christians can separate the two things, how 
they can divide politics from religion. The 
corporate expression of conversion must work 
itself out in our political system the reign of 
God on earth, if we are to understand the im 
plications of Christ's own words must be an 
all-embracing democracy. We have got to 
realize that Christianity must be the motive 
power of the politics of the twentieth century, 
that it is only through a realization of the mes 
sage of Christ that we are going to get the reign 
of God established. 

"Behind this great evolution of society there 
is this gigantic spiritual force, stronger than 
all the material forces and yet working through 
material things, working through the conquest 
of coal, of iron, of steel, of the air and of the 
sea, working through these wonderful inven 
tions of the twentieth century." 

And the woman who has given voice to these 
great thoughts was once a tired little "counter 
jumper" in old London. She is not now a 
woman who stops to think of her own greatness, 
In appearance Margaret Bondfield is pretty 



U4 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

and plump and well-groomed, without giving 
clothes too much Importance In her life. Her 
hands and feet are small and dainty, her gen 
eral appearance Is distinctly pleasing and does 
not. In the least, suggest militant politics. In 
deed she Is against violence. She controls her 
self and expects other people to control them 
selves, strikers included. Her advice, given 
to a group of trade-union women in New York> 
is worth remembering: "Go slowly. Take the 
time needed to carry the mass with you. There 
is no good of leaders without followers. When 
the advance gets too far ahead, stop, and wait 
to bring up the rank and file." 

With Ideals like these and a woman like 
Margaret Bondfield to express them, what 
wonder is it that the women and girls of Eng 
land follow "Our Maggie" to greater and 
greater industrial victories? 



XIV 

CLARA BARTON 
Organiser and Nurse 

NOWADAYS many nurses work In eight-hour 
shifts; all of them have hours off and hours 
on. Usually a "case" takes a week or a month 
of care. It Is a very unusual nurse who stays 
with her patient a year ; yet Clara Barton kept 
her first case two years, and her patient was her 
brother, and she herself was only eleven years 
old when she took charge. David Barton was 
nervous and discouraged, unused to being ill. 
Little Clara, however, would not give up her 
task. When she at last brought her patient to 
health she was quite worn out herself. The 
Barton family always thought that the long 
period of nursing stopped Clara's growth ; but 
perhaps under any circumstances she would 
never have grown beyond her five feet of 
height. Fortunately her brown eyes grew big 
and her brown hair grew thick; not quite so 



n6 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

fortunately her mouth and nose also grew. Yet 
Clara, or Clarissa Harlowe Barton, as she was 
first called, presented a rather Interesting ex 
terior to the world. No one in her youth seems 
to have suspected how very gifted the girl be 
hind the big brown eyes was. Circumstances, 
moving quietly on in their noiseless task of 
shaping the young girl's life, at last revealed 
her to the world in her real worth and ability. 
The life of Clara Barton, now so widely 
known, began quite inconspicuously in Oxford, 
Massachusetts, in the year 1830. Captain Ste 
phen Barton and his wife had four children 
in their early married life; after a space of 
ten years little Clara was born. Of course she 
was a great favorite with the two older sisters 
and the two tall brothers. Life on the Barton 
farm took on new interest when there was an 
eager little girl to be taught The mother often 
wondered what her baby girl would do with 
all the mass of miscellaneous information that 
was thrust into her bright little mind. Her 
young instructors taught her to read, to weave, 
to tie a "hard" knot, to break a colt, to churn, 
to keep house. Somehow when she became a 
teacher she used all her information and re- 



ORGANIZER AND NURSE 117 

jolced that she knew life from baseball to but 
tons. She took up teaching very early. A 
friend of the Barton family, having been con 
sulted on the subject of a cure for little Clara's 
shyness ? advised putting responsibility on her 
eager young shoulders. She became a school 
teacher while still in her teens and completely 
justified her old friend's faith in her latent 
abilities. 

Clara Barton was always a successful teach 
er, winning her way because she forgot her 
self and remembered the children. She had 
had several years of experience when she saw 
an opportunity and made it her own. For lack 
of a free school the children of Bordentown, 
New Jersey, were roaming the streets. Clara 
asked the town's permission to start such a 
school. She began with six pupils and after 
a few years she ended with six hundred schol 
ars. The reason she gave up her Bordentown 
work was an odd one people did not think so 
large a school should be run by a woman. It 
did not seem to occur to the town fathers that 
the woman who had founded the school and 
enlarged it, had greater ability than many men. 
Naturally Clara was not willing to become a 



n8 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

subordinate. After resigning her Bordentown 
position, she took up work in the patent office 
in Washington in 1854. 

By the time the Civil War shook the country 
Clara Barton knew the city well. Finding 
that her free time was not enough to devote to 
the cause of the wounded soldiers, Clara gradu 
ally gave all her efforts to her self-chosen task 
of aiding the army. The two years she had 
spent in nursing long ago helped her now to 
understand the sick and the wounded. Her 
work became widely known and in 1864 Gen 
eral Butler appointed her "Lady-in-charge" of 
the hospitals at the front of the Army of the 
James. In 1865 Clara Barton went to Ander- 
sonville, Georgia, to mark the graves of Union 
soldiers buried there. In the same year Presi 
dent Lincoln placed the search for missing 
Union soldiers in her charge. In the years 
1866-67 s ^ e lectured on her war experiences. 
Interested audiences listened to the magnetic 
voice of the woman who had, of her own choice, 
braved the dangers of war and its privations. 
Clara Barton had seen hunger and bloodshed 
and homesickness. She had heard the thunder 
of the bursting shells of bombardment, she had 



ORGANIZER AND NURSE 119 

heard the broken whispers of the dying. And 
she knew how to tell what she had seen and 
known. People listened to her lectures and 
wished to help her In her plans for aiding the 
war sufferers. But these plans were destined 
to be postponed because the brave little war 
worker lost her voice. She could lecture no 
longer. She was forced to go to Switzerland 
to recuperate. 

Clara Barton carried with her to the new 
country a sense of loss, of work undone and 
plans unfulfilled. Her great wish to organize 
relief work for the United States army seemed 
to have met defeat In reality she was just 
entering upon the greatest achievement of her 
life. At Geneva a group of prominent men 
asked Clara Barton to interest the United States 
in the Red Cross, then a comparatively new or 
ganization even in Europe. Clara was imme 
diately interested in this project but the out 
break of the Franco-Prussian war postponed 
her return to America and gave her first-hand 
information about the workings of the Red 
Cross in Europe. When the war broke out, 
Clara cast her invalidism aside and declared 
she must go to the Front to help the soldiers. It 



120 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

did not matter to her on which side the men 
were fighting; their need was all she consid 
ered. She joined the Grand Duchess of Baden 
In organizing military hospitals. In 1871 she 
superintended the supplies given the poor in 
Strasburg. In this city she was able to ar 
range a self-helpful society by means of which 
the poor people were able to supply each other's 
needs. In 1872 Miss Barton distributed sup 
plies In destitute Paris. 

Clara Barton's return to America was fol 
lowed by another period of recuperation. She 
had again used up all her energies In army 
work; but she could not forget the war suffer 
ers. The Golden Cross of Baden had been 
awarded her; she had also received the Iron 
cross of Germany. The cross that really inter 
ested her, however, she was not able to bring 
to her country. The Red Cross was as yet un 
organized in the United States. On her sick 
bed Clara Barton thought of that cross and Its 
work; she could not bear to have her country 
go without its noble aid. For years she worked, 
and then in 1881 the victory came; Clara Bar 
ton was appointed the president of the Red 
Cross society in America. This organization 



ORGANIZER AND NURSE 121 

was modelled on its European namesake; its 
aim being, "to organize a system of national re 
lief and to apply the same in mitigating suffer 
ing caused by war, pestilence, famine and other 
calamities." 

It was not long before there was plenty of 
work for the new society and its energetic 
founder. One of the first duties Clara Barton 
performed as head of the Red Cross in the 
United States was to superintend the relief 
work for the flood sufferers in the Ohio and 
Mississippi valleys in 1884. In the same year 
she was a delegate to the international Peace 
Conference at Geneva. Meanwhile she had 
been preparing a history of the Red Cross at 
the request of the United States senate ; and that 
was not the only piece of literary work she 
found time to do on the subject of her great 
work. 

In 1 893 the cyclone sufferers on the Atlantic 
coast needed Red Cross aid. In 1896 Clara 
Barton went to Constantinople to administer 
funds for the relief of the Armenian sufferers. 
These are only a few of the great deeds done 
by the first president of the American Red 
Cross, in peace and in war. The great society 



122 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

has grown and grown until there is scarcely a 
child in the country who does not know of it 
and its good work. The name of Clara Barton 
is internationally famous. Death came to her 
in April, 1912. She lives forever in her great 
deeds. 



XV 

MARY PUTNAM JACOBI 
Daughter and Doctor 

IF you had your choice would you be the eldest 
daughter of a large family or the youngest? 
Which? The oldest has the problems and the 
youngest has the petting. Mary Putnam was 
glad to be counted first in a group of brothers 
and sisters that numbered eleven. Although 
she was born in London on August 31, 1842, 
Mary had few English memories. During 
little "Minnie's" childhood Stapleton, Staten 
Island, was the family home for five happy 
years. It was there that she became the adored 
leader of a group of boys and girls, a leader in 
all the best-loved country sports pony-riding, 
surf -bathing, coasting, skating; everything that 
young people enjoy, these youngsters did, 
frolicking merrily through their early years. 
Sometimes Minnie's beautiful young mother, 
Victorine, accompanied the children on their 

123 



i2 4 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

expeditions. Hardly larger than, a child her 
self , Vlctorlne Putnam could set her pony rac 
ing with the rest along the beaches and over 
the downs. 

When Minnie was about nine years old a 
famous visitor came to the Putnam home. 
Susan Warner was reading the proofs of her 
Wide, Wide World, but she found time to read 
her friends' children, too. 'She wrote of the 
"Staten Island household, "Mrs. Putnam is a 
jewel of a wife and mother. It is a pleasure to 
see the perfect affection and good humor be 
tween the heads of the family, and the very nice 
management and education of the fine intelli 
gent children. Mrs. Putnam does not seem to 
consider her children a burdensome charge. 
Minnie is very intelligent" 

It was about this time that the little girl who 
later became a famous physician, began to 
write stories. Possibly she had written before, 
but in 1851 she wrote a tale called The Three 
Paths of Life, a very serious little story. The 
last word of the title was characteristic of the 
child. She was always wondering about 
LIFE, what it was and what it might bring her. 
It soon brought her a change from the care- 



DAUGHTER AND DOCTOR 125 

free country living to a house in Sixteenth 
Street, New York, opposite St. George's 
Church. Mr. Putnam enjoyed being near his 
publishing house but Minnie did not like the 
city. Still she must have found some pleasure 
in this new life, for a friend has written of it, 
"The evenings at the Putnams' were one of the 
very great pleasures that winter. His posi 
tion as leading publisher in New York brought 
all noted strangers within his reach; and so 
among artists and professors, ministers and 
men of science, you would see Thackeray one 
night and Lowell another. But when you 
stood in the not over-large room among per 
haps seventy people, you felt they must all be 
good talkers they made so little noise ! Peo 
ple wanted to hear as well as speak; and there 
was just a soft buzz of conversation through 
the room. 

"The night of the first reception, just before 
the first arrivals, the oldest daughter of the 
house (Minnie) decorated the front door with 
a notice (happily discovered in time by her 
father) 'Nobody admitted who cannot talk. 5 " 

Besides the subjects she heard her parents' 
friends discuss, little Mary Putnam's mind was 



126 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

steadily turned toward religion through the 
influence of her father's mother. Unfortu 
nately Madame Putnam made the subject joy 
less and sombre, but as she grew older Minnie 
became clear-minded enough to take for her 
own only what was best and truest in her grand 
mother's teaching. Possibly the epidemic of 
cholera that was raging at the time, had its part 
in turning the young girl's mind toward seri 
ous subjects. It surely had an influence in her 
life, for it caused her parents to take their 
young family out of the city of suffering into 
a healthier neighborhood. The Putnams 
moved to a pretty home in Yonkers in 1854, and 
in 1857 there was another moving caused by 
unfortunate business conditions. It was the 
year of a great financial panic and Mr. Put 
nam's business suffered with other less prosper 
ous firms. To pay the family debts the delight 
ful Yonkers home was sold ; a new and less ex 
pensive home was found near High Bridge. 
Seven acres of woodland surrounded the quaint 
but inconvenient dwelling. The stable still 
had two ponies in it. There was a garden to 
be cultivated by Minnie and her eldest brother, 
together they also cared for the ponies. It was 



DAUGHTER AND DOCTOR 127 

a life of responsibility for the young people; 
besides her home duties Minnie had to take a 
train to New York every school morning in 
order to attend classes in the high school super 
intended most efficiently by Miss Wadleigh, 
and afterward named for her. For two years 
Mary studied and helped to tend the ponies and 
the garden, then she graduated. The imposing 
title of her commencement essay was, "The 
Moral Significance of William the Con 
queror." 

Afterward there were private lessons in 
Greek for the little student and the elder-sis 
terly task of teaching her little brothers and 
sisters; and Minnie never neglected anything 
she had to do for her family. She did not for 
get, however, a favorite teacher at the Wad- 
leigh School. Miss Swift kept up a corre 
spondence with her admiring pupil. Through 
this friendship Minnie was able later to gain 
permission in Civil War times to go to Louisi 
ana to care for her young soldier brother, 
George Haven Putnam, when he fell sick in 
camp. Again in this experience the elder sis 
ter was uppermost in Mary. Her love for her 
brother made her fearless during the trials of 



128 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

her journey and made her a good nurse when 
she reached her destination. The nursing con 
tinued for some time and she was often asked 
to do unaccustomed things. One night she at 
tended a negro camp meeting and was asked to 
speak. The comment of her whole congrega 
tion was, "Young Missus, she did preach right 
powerful." 

Possibly the course in pharmacy which Mary 
Putnam had taken in New York just before she 
set off to nurse her soldier brother, helped her 
to be useful in the army camp. At any rate 
after she returned to the North her knowledge 
of medicines helped her to decide her life 
work. She now definitely wished to study 
medicine. A letter from her father at this 
time shows the family attitude toward her 
choice. "Now, Minnie," he wrote, "you know 
very well that I am proud of your abilities and 
am willing that you should apply them even 
to the repulsive pursuit (for it is so in spite of 
oneself) of Medical Science. But don't let 
yourself be absorbed and gobbled up in that 
branch of the animal kingdom ordinarily 
called strong-minded women I Don't let them 
intensify your self will and independence, for 



DAUGHTER AND DOCTOR 129 

they are strong enough already. Don't be con 
gealed or fossilized into a hard, tenacious, un 
bending personification of intellectual conceit, 
however strongly fortified you feel sure that 
you are." 

This strong but excellent advice helped 
Mary when she was studying medicine in 
Philadelphia, later it aided her when, in her 
twenty-fifth year, she set out to continue her 
studies in Paris. She had earned money by 
tutoring and in September 1866 she set sail for 
France. She reached Paris without any mis 
hap and there went at once to see Dr. Black- 
well, the sister of Henry Blackwell, Lucy 
Stone's famous husband. Dr. Blackwell ob 
tained lodgings for Mary in the Quartier Latin. 
"I have only a tiny bedroom," she wrote home, 
a but the use of a parlor to receive visitors, and 
board for twenty dollars a month." Later she 
wrote of this adopted home, "It is astonish 
ing how easily one gets accustomed to things ; 
my little room seems ample to me by this time 
when I go to bed the towers of Notre Dame 
loom grandly through the slight silvery mist 
like a dream." 

But this new life in a new land was not all 



130 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

beautiful dreams. A large part of it was hard 
work, persistent effort to gain entrance to medi 
cal classes and clinics not before opened to a 
woman. Mary studied French, she taught 
English; she worked in the daytime and she 
worked at night. She helped out her little sav 
ings by writing for American newspapers. In 
all this busy new life Mary Putnam never for 
got that she was an elder sister ; her home let 
ters are vivid and full of affectionate plans for 
helping the younger children when her educa 
tion was completed. In January 1868, she 
wrote gaily to her mother, "Allow me to gra 
tify the anticipation of six months by the fol 
lowing announcement Day before yesterday 
for the first time since its foundation several 
centuries ago, a petticoat might be seen in the 
august amphitheatre of the Ecole de Medecine. 
The petticoat enrobed the form of your most 
obedient servant and dutiful daughter!" 

Not even the Siege of Paris could keep this 
enthusiastic girl from obtaining her diploma, 
Wars might delay her ; they could not keep her 
from her purpose. Long ago she had had to 
choose between a new dress and a new micro 
scope. Finally, after five years of effort, Mary 



DAUGHTER AND DOCTOR 131 

Putnam saw her thesis accepted and knew that 
she was to receive her degree. It has been said 
that, "The renown of the scholastic triumph es 
caped seclusion within the walls of the Sor- 
bonne, and such journals as the Figaro com 
mented on the success of the young American 
who had been rebuffed in her application for 
a professional degree five years previous. 55 

The American press was no less laudatory, 
and when Mary returned to her family In New 
York she was recognised as a promising mem 
ber of a profession slow to accept women into 
Its circles. The Medical Society of the County 
of New York elected her a member In 1871. 
Dr. Blackwell had been the first woman taken 
Into this august body of physicians, Mary Put 
nam was the second. It was at the ceremony 
of admission that Mary met her future hus 
band, Dr. Abraham Jacob!. She was married 
in July 1873. In Dr. Jacob! Mary found a de 
voted husband and a loving father to the little 
son and daughter who came to her. Mary Put 
nam Jacobi had one home In New York City, 
another at Lake George. She had trips to 
Europe and many other things that money will 
buy, but she never forgot that she was first of 



132 GIRLS WHO BECAME LEADERS 

all a physician. Her patients took the place 
of her little brothers and sisters, who had grown 
up and no longer needed her care. She was 
faithful to them and to her medical studies. 
Interesting lectures of hers on nearly every 
subject in medical literature are most carefully 
kept by her followers. For a long time she was 
a professor in the Woman's Medical College. 
She resigned this work In 1888. Her little son 
had died In 1883, but Mary Putnam lived to 
see her daughter go to Barnard College. In 
1895 both parents accompanied this daughter 
to Europe, where, in Greece, Mary delighted 
to read her Greek Testament on the Acropolis. 
Mary Putnam's earthly life did not end un 
til the year 1906, after years of service to the 
suffering people of this world whom she con 
sidered her sisters and her brothers. A friend 
has written of her, "I only want to think of 
Mary Putnam Jacobi in the zenith of her 
physical and mental power, with her flashing 
brown eyes, and the fire and magnetism of her 
vibrant being. She was one to inspire and lead, 
and generously and gloriously did she give of 
her talents to her beloved profession. When 
the history of women in medicine is fully writ- 



DAUGHTER AND DOCTOR 133 

ten, there will be no more commanding figure 
than hers, to become a beacon light to future 
generations." 



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